“COOTIES,” “DEAD SNOW” sequel & more in Sundance’s Midnight and Spotlight sections


We reported yesterday that a bunch of genre films had been selected for the main competition at January’s Sundance Film Festival, and now a bunch more have been announced for the Park City at Midnight and Spotlight lineups.

The 2014 edition of Sundance takes place January 16-26 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The horror-friendly Midnight schedule boasts a bunch of promising fright fare, including another film from Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision (A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT is part of the fest’s NEXT series), the sequel to DEAD SNOW, which premiered at Sundance 2009, and the latest from the YOU’RE NEXT gang:

THE BABADOOK (Australia; director and screenwriter: Jennifer Kent)—A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her. Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Ben Winspear.

COOTIES (Directors: Jonathan Millott, Cary Murnion; screenwriters: Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan)—From SpectreVision, a mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school and transforms the students into a feral swarm of mass savages; then an unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers in the fight of their lives. Cast: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad.

DEAD SNOW: RED VS. DEAD (pictured above; Norway; director: Tommy Wirkola; screenwriters: Wirkola, Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel)—The gruesome Nazi zombies are back to finish their mission, but our hero is not willing to die. He is gathering his own army to give them a final fight. Cast: Hoel, Henriksen, Martin Starr, Ørjan Gamst, Ingrid Haas, Jocelyn DeBoer.

THE GUEST (Director: Adam Wingard; screenwriter: Simon Barrett)—A soldier on leave befriends the family of a fallen comrade. He soon becomes a threat to everyone around him when it’s revealed he’s not who he says he is. Cast: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Lance Reddick, Chase Williamson, Brendan Meyer.

KILLERS (Japan/Indonesia; directors: The Mo Brothers; screenwriters: Timo Tjahjanto, Takuji Ushiyama)—Two serial killers post their violent crimes on-line in a psychotic battle for notoriety. It soon becomes clear that they will square off with one another face to face. Cast: Kazuki Kitamura, Oka Antara, Rin Takanashi, Luna Maya, Ray Sahetapy.

THE SIGNAL (Director: William Eubank; screenwriters: William Eubank, Carlyle Eubank, David Frigerio)—Three college students disappear under mysterious circumstances while tracking a computer hacker through the Southwest. Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp.

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (New Zealand/U.S.; Directors/screenwriters: Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement)—This mockumentary follows the struggles of a group of New Zealand–based vampires to understand modern society and adapt to the ever-changing world around them. Cast: Clement, Waititi, Jonny Brugh, Cori Gonzales-Macuer, Stu Rutherford.

In addition, Sundance’s Spotlight program will host two films of Fangorian note:

BLUE RUIN (Director/screenwriter: Jeremy Saulnier)—A mysterious outsider’s quiet life turns upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving to be an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. Cast: Macon Blair, Amy Hargreaves, Sidné Anderson, Devin Ratray, Kevin Kolack. (See review here)

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (Director/screenwriter: Jim Jarmusch)—Set against the desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, depressed by the direction the world is taking, reunites with his lover. Their love story has endured for centuries, but the woman’s uncontrollable sister disrupts their idyll. Can these wise outsiders continue to survive as the world collapses around them? Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright. (See review here)

Look for coverage of Sundance’s genre fare here and in FANGORIA magazine in the coming months.

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Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold has been a member of the FANGORIA team for the past three decades. After starting as a writer for the magazine in 1988, he came aboard as associate editor in 1990 and two years later moved up to managing editor. He now serves as editor-in-chief of the magazine while continuing to contribute numerous articles and reviews, as well as a contributing editor/writer for this website.
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