By Vanessa Zimmer
Truth to tell, there’s something frightening about every one of the Sundance Film Festival offerings coming to America’s theaters in April. Maybe Dual not quite as much, but there’s something of a what-if nature to that movie that should scare you to death.
And it’s their spooky and startling nature that makes the month of April Fools a good time to push these movies out into the big, wide world. All of these films came to the 2022 Festival, except for We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, which screened at the 2021 edition.
Don’t miss a few extras: Three of these titles (the underlined ones) have links to more detailed synopses and coverage of Q&A sessions with the casts following the film premieres at the 2022 Festival. Two directors’ names (again, underlined) link out to Meet the Artist videos made for the Festival.
Whether you’re easily terrified or not, we’re betting you’ve never seen another witch movie, another clone movie, or another horror movie anything like these.
You Won’t Be Alone — A blend of supernatural, bloody horror and a meditation on what it means to be human, this feature debut by writer-director Goran Stolevski is set in 19th-century Macedonia, where an ancient spirit transforms a young girl into a witch. The girl explores her world by inhabiting the bodies of various villagers. Noomi Rapace is among the stars. Coming to theaters April 1.
Dual — Writer-director Riley Stearns lends his deadpan satiric style (it’s hilarious!) to this black sci-fi sort-of comedy about a terminally ill woman named Sarah (Karen Gillan) who pays into a government program to clone herself so that her double can replace her. But she finds herself miraculously well again, and facing a mandated duel to the death with her double within a year’s time. So, Sarah takes up combat training with a coach played by Aaron Paul. Coming to theaters April 15.
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair — Alone in the dark of her attic bedroom, teenage Casey (Anna Cobb) decides to take the World’s Fair Challenge, an online role-playing horror game. She begins to document any changes she observes happening to her, and releasing her reports to the world, prompting a mysterious figure to reach out to her. The story of the loner Casey is writer-director Jane Schoenbrun’s feature debut. Coming April 22 nationally to theaters and later to HBO Max.
Hatching — Young Tinja, gymnast, friendless, and the daughter of a demanding, image-obsessed blogging mother, finds an egg in the forest. She secrets it in her room, nurturing it until it hatches. “Director Hanna Bergholm’s pointedly satirical feature debut constantly surprises, upending expectations by continually morphing alongside the newly hatched Alli,” according to the Festival Program Guide. Let the horror begin. Coming to theaters April 29.
We have a bonus offering this month: The 2021 Festival film Eight for Silver has changed its title to The Cursed and became available for rent earlier this year on Amazon Prime. The fantasy/horror/mystery is about a 19th-century land baron who kills a Roma clan, unleashing a curse on his family and village. The film is a gothic spin on the werewolf legend.