Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow
Nate von Zumwalt, Editorial Coordinator
On the eve of the year’s most devious day, and in deference to the spirits, creatures, and other nocturnal dwellers of our world, we’ve nominated five Sundance-supported films for your Halloween viewing pleasure. And if that’s not enough, check out Gowatchit.com’s curated channel featuring the best films culled from the Sundance Film Festival’s Park City at Midnight category.
Herbal mint facial masks, lavish wardrobes, impeccable accessorizing—it’s the glorious displays of ostentation and conceit by Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) that make American Psycho so horrifically riveting. And while, yes, he’s also a bona fide sociopath with the most depraved of intentions, Bateman is nonetheless oddly endearing in director Mary Harron’s 2000 Sundance Film Festival selection. American Psycho, which was adapted from the eponymous 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis, neglects the kitsch of exploitation films and is far more than a weary stab at shock value.
Another interesting note: Keanu Reeves, Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio were all considered for the lead, but it probably takes a little bit of this to pull of the role anyway.
Not for the claustro-, achluo-, or speluncaphobic (that is, fear of confined spaces, darkness, and caves, respectively). Neil Marshall’s The Descent pulls of a cinematic paradox with its visually stunning cinematography and vast array of gore and terror. The narrative follows a group of adventurous young girls embarking on a cave expedition in the Appalachian Mountains. As required, things quickly go awry and the girls are left to fend off swarms of vicious (and quite repugnant) cave-dwelling creatures.
Tommy Wirkola’s Norway-set film firmly displaces the idea that there is nothing more petrifying than human Nazi soldiers. In an oddly original iteration of the classic horror genre, Dead Snow summons the spirits of zombified Nazis and pits them against a group of vacationing students for a violent clash in the wintry hills of Northern Europe. Who’s to say you can’t brush up on your WWII knowledge with a horror film?
Back for its second consecutive year as part of our ‘Haunted Collection’ is Alexandre Aja’s Haute Tension, a refreshing take on the classic suspense horror, chronicling two college girls’ vacation-gone-awry at a relative’s country home. If a film laden with gore could ever be deemed beautiful, Haute Tension would certainly qualify.
V/H/S sets the record straight that anthology films are not confined to the Paris je’taime’s of the world. As Sundance staffer Adam Montgomery describes it, V/H/S is a “wickedly conceived horror anthology sends the viewer through a gauntlet of suspense, terror, shock, and downright brutality—instantly distinguishing itself from a sea of lackluster found-footage horror flicks.” In other words, don’t be discouraged by the premise, this is unlike any film you’ve seen.