At the golden age of 50, the New York Film Festival is keeping things fresh with a new Midnight Movies section of the fest. Celebrating genre fare best experienced at the witching hour, these three films will have you cringing, cheering, and shrieking for more.
Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Wag the Dog) takes an unexpected turn towards eco-horror in this creepfest produced by found footage pioneer Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity) about a outbreak of parasitic “isopods” in the Chesepeake Bay that literally eat their victims from the inside out. Brilliantly assembling faux news reports, internet home videos and security footage, the film holds nothing back in depicting the gruesome effects of nature's revenge while weaving in commentary on the government's attempted cover-up. NYFF Selection Committee member Scott Foundas promises: “It will definitely make you squirm.”
Outrage Beyond / Autoreiji: Biyondo
Writer-director-star Takeshi Kitano's superior sequel to his 2010 Outrage is a yakuza delight by a true master of the genre. After eliminating all competition in the first film, the dominant Sanno clan's young boss Kato (Tomokazu Miura) arrogantly refuses to share power or play nice with the Japanese police. This infuriates corrupt cop Kataoka (Fumiyo Kohinata) and inspires him to team up with the rogue yakuza Otomo (Kitano)—he's not dead after all!—leading to a historic showdown. In the words of Scott Foundas, “eventually everyone starts killing each other again, but with great panache.” Sure to delight fans of the original and newbies alike, this slick action flick is cool and deliberate with bone-rattling bursts of violence sure to keep you alert, no matter the hour.
Exciting young British director Peter Strickland (Katalin Varga) literally screams his love for the Italian giallos of the 60s–80s in this sumptuous period piece about a British sound engineer (the wonderful Toby Jones) who travels to Rome in 1976 to work on the post-synch soundtrack to The Equestrian Vortex. Reminiscent of Suspiria, this film-within-a-film is a tale of murder and witchcraft set in a all-girls equestrian school. But the real action is in the recording booth, where Jones' Gilderoy and his team mutilate unsuspecting fruits and veggies and tape an impressive array of screams and shrieks to create their soundscape. Over time, though, the line between the film and the production blurs and Gilderoy begins to suspect that he is the subject of a whole other set of frights. Berberian Sound Studio is an absolute delight, not to be missed by fans of horror or cinema in general.
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