Brooklyn Horror Film Festival Watch List

The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival kicked off yesterday and we’re in for a marathon weekend of film watching. As such is life, there’s never enough time to watch everything we’d like and many hard choices had to be made. With that in mind, here’s our itinerary for the weekend with synopses provided by the festival.

Friday, October 13, 8:40pm; Saturday, October 14, 4:20pm
Gunnar (Bjorn Stefansson) is happily in a new relationship. A phone call from an old boyfriend, Einar (Sigurdur Thor Oskarsson), however, makes him question his situation. Ready for answers, Gunnar visits Einar at the latter’s home in a scenic Icelandic outpost. The two former lovers quickly rekindle their friendship that anchored their romance. But strange occurrences, from disturbing noises to a mysterious red figure marauding outside, throw their reignited connection into a dangerous tailspin.
As part of our inaugural 2016 festival, BHFF was proud to world premiere Erlingur Thoroddsen’s monster movie/slasher hybrid CHILD EATER. With RIFT, the young Icelandic filmmaker has incredibly upped his game. Whereas CHILD EATER was down-and-dirty, Thoroddsen’s follow-up is atmospheric and restrained, channeling Nicolas Roeg and Robert Wise. RIFT, which won Outfest’s Artistic Vision award, cements the director as one to watch. —Matt Barone

Saturday, October 14, 12pm; Sunday, October 15, 12pm
Stuck in a hospital waiting to undergo open heart surgery, Cris (Marina Boti) constantly deceives her mother and the nurses to spend time with another patient named Victor (Ricard Balada) who claims to be a vampire. As the potentially deadly surgery approaches, Cris is faced with the temptation of immortality or leaving her future up to fate. By setting the film in a hospital where every day is defined by the fight for survival, director Denise Castro keeps the horror rooted in the most human fear of all – the fear of death. Filled with moments of sadness and paralyzing dread, Salvation is a terrifying new entry in vampire canon that stands right alongside Let the Right One In. —Joseph Hernandez

Saturday, October 14, 12pm; Sunday, October 15, 6:15pm
Cleaning hotel rooms is how Amanda (a fearless Kate Hoffman) makes ends meet, but one day, she enters the wrong room. Brutally attacked and raped, Amanda is left emotionally shattered and pregnant. Looking to forge ahead, the resilient young woman has to tap into her basest survival instincts when a relentless stalker makes his or her intentions known: Rip Amanda’s unborn child out of her stomach.
A fierce homage to exploitation classics like MS. 45, GET MY GUN boldly aligns itself with the horror genre’s longstanding catalog of “rape/revenge” films. Writer-director, and native New Yorker, Brian Darwas takes the framework of, say, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, upends expectations, and introduces the stalk-and-prey beats of the 2007 French shocker INSIDE. The final product hits like a shotgun blast to the gut. —Matt Barone

Saturday, October 14, 6pm
Life in Vienna has pushed the Turkish-born taxi driver Ozge (Violetta Schurawlow) to her wit’s end. To relieve stress caused by failed romance, family drama, and financial strain, she fights in Thai boxing matches. So when Ozge witnesses a horrific murder from her apartment window, she isn’t about to back down from the Islamic fundamentalist serial killer who now wants her dead. She’s ready to win the ensuing cat-and-mouse game by any means necessary.
With murder scenes shot like vintage Italian Giallo, COLD HELL taps into brutal horror, but Oscar-winning director Stefan Ruzowitzky (THE COUNTERFEITERS) isn’t just concerned with bloodshed. He’s also focused on BOURNE-like action, giving the extremely badass Schurawlow ample opportunity to give one of the best female ass-kicker performances in recent memory. The cumulative effect is pure action-horror bliss. —Matt Barone

Sunday, October 15, 4pm

If you love the ’80s—specifically its body-horror cinema and video games—you won’t want to miss the homagistic feature writing/directing debut of actor Graham Skipper (RE-ANIMATOR: THE MUSICAL, BEYOND THE GATES, THE MIND’S EYE). His GATES co-star Chase Williamson stars as Oz, whose whole world is a small shop where he repairs and refurbishes arcade favorites of yore. When Oz meets Tess (Fabianne Therese), a customer with an equal love of geeky pop culture, he starts to come out of his shell—but at the same time, he becomes dangerously drawn to a mysterious game with a lot more powering it than pixels. Surreal plot turns combine with icky physical and makeup effects to create a viewing experience that’ll suck you in. — Michael Gingold

Sunday, October 15, 6pm
For newlyweds Altair and Manuel, things couldn’t be better. They’re ready to begin their new lives together and in an effort to document their happiness, Manuel begins recording their post-marriage bliss with a Super-8 camera. Suddenly acting strangely, Altair’s demeanor changes as she begins to claim she’s able to talk to God and starts to build a black brick door in her bedroom. Then, just like that, Altair and Manuel disappear, only leaving behind the latter’s 8mm tapes.
Just when you thought found-footage horror was dead, along comes 1974, a seriously creepy hybrid of haunted house movie, possession story, and otherworldly unpredictability. Elevating Mexican writer-director Victor Dryere’s film above all other recent found-footage is its masterfully executed 8mm aesthetic, which helps put 1974 in the same league as PARANORMAL ACTIVITY—trust us, it’s that legit. —Matt Barone

We also highly recommend checking out FASHIONISTA, which we previously reviewed and interviewed the cast/director, and GAME OF DEATH, which was also previously reviewed. Both are excellent films to catch this weekend.

The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival is a badass genre film festival taking place in Brooklyn, NY October 12-15, 2017.