TADFF 2016: Top 5 Picks
‘Tis the season for zombies, blood, and gore! With the 2016 Toronto After Dark Film Festival just days away, we thought we’d offer a preview of some of the films we’re looking forward to. TAD is known for offering a wide range of horror, action, sci-fi, and cult films and this year promises to be no different. There’s something for every taste. Here is a list of our Top 5 Picks (and two bonus ones!) for this year’s festival, which runs Thursday, October 13th to Friday, October 21st at the Scotiabank Theatre.
UNDER THE SHADOW
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Tehran, Iran in 1988. After her husband leaves to fight in the war with Iraq, an Iranian mother and her young daughter are left to cope by themselves in an increasingly deserted apartment building. It’s soon clear that someone or something else has moved into the building with them, an evil spirit with a sinister agenda of its own that threatens their lives.
WHY WE’RE EXCITED TO SEE IT: This is the Opening Night Gala film. We’re intrigued by the setting. We don’t often get films period, let alone a horror film, set in the Middle East make their way to North America. We’re interested to see how the horror tools originating from this region stack up against the well-known American formulas. The comparisons to The Babadook is also a reason to take notice.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: In the near future, after a zombie apocalypse wipes out one fifth of the planet’s population, the only undead left are kept contained on a remote island. There, the wealthy can pay to come and go on Zombie Safaris and hunt the undead for sport. But after the zombie containment systems fail on the island, it’s time for the vacationers to see how long they can survive when the tables turn and the living become the hunted!
WHY WE’RE EXCITED TO SEE IT: Describing this as THE WALKING DEAD meets JURASSIC PARK is enough to grab our attention! This sounds like a fun, crowd-pleasing take on the very familiar zombie movie formula.
TRAIN TO BUSAN
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Passengers on a train traveling from Soeul to Busan struggle to survive a zombie virus outbreak that has hit South Korea
WHY WE’RE EXCITED TO SEE IT: When a zombie film debuts to a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s good. South Korea has been producing some of the best genre films of the past decade so we’re excited to see a big-budget Asian take on the zombie film. This looks to be a really great crowd-pleaser.
STAKE LAND 2 (aka THE STAKELANDER)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: This thrilling sequel picks up the action just a few years after the original. When his home town New Eden is destroyed by a revitalized group of vamps, young Martin tracks down the original vamp-slaying legend Mister (Nick Damici) for help. With the vamp forces growing more powerful, it’s clear a brutal showdown between humans and blood suckers is just on the horizon!
WHY WE’RE EXCITED TO SEE IT: This was a surprise! We didn’t even realize a sequel was in the works. The first STAKE LAND movie was one of our favorite vampire flicks of the past decade. Its desolate post-apocalyptic setting was a fun, gritty and grounded take on the genre. It plays nicely as a much darker antidote to the blockbuster TWILIGHT franchise. We’re hoping that with most of the original cast returning that this one will be a return to form and be just as fun as the original.
FROM A HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: A HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET is a crowd-pleasing new supernatural horror thriller from South Africa. Starring fan favourite survivor girl Sharni Vinson (YOU’RE NEXT), three kidnappers get more than they bargained for when they abduct a wealthy businessman’s daughter for one night in order to extract a ransom. It’s not long before they realize that a demonic force has taken possession of her body and has sinister plans of its own for the kidnappers.
WHY WE’RE EXCITED TO SEE IT: We’re intrigued to see what a supernatural film from South Africa has in store. Sharni Vinson was great in YOU’RE NEXT and we’re hoping this one is just as fun. We’re looking for something to put us on edge and maybe this is the one. Hopefully this home invasion thriller will put a fresh spin on the genre much like SHUT IN did last year.
BONUS PICK 1: BLOOD FATHER
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: John Link (Mel Gibson) is a grizzled Tattoo parlour owner on a violent quest to recover his missing daughter Lydia from a local drug cartel. With the assistance of a trailer park buddy (William H Macy) they free Lydia, but in doing so initiate a war with the local gang’s kingpin, a fabulously deranged Diego Luna (STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE).
WHY WE’RE EXCITED TO SEE IT: Mel Gibson is slowly trying to rebuild his career and we’re interested in seeing if this is a step in the right direction for him. It debuted earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival and has seen some strong reviews thus far so we’re anticipating a solid thriller.
BONUS PICK 2: THE VOID
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: With a throwback to classic horror master John Carpenter, THE VOID brilliantly combines a tense siege movie with a terrifying creature feature. Sheriff Carter picked the wrong night to pay a visit to the remotely located local hospital. Outside, a gang of white-sheeted creeps surrounds the place, threatening the lives of anyone that wants to leave. Inside, a deadly sinister and multi-tentacled life form is on the loose.
WHY WE’RE EXCITED TO SEE IT: This is the Closing Night Gala. The concept trailer for this looks bloody, gory, and frankly, a little bit strange. Abandoned hospitals are ALWAYS creepy so it has that going for it. Also the comparisons to John Carpenter and the directors being cult favorites has us excited for what is hopefully a good old-fashioned creature feature.