The Sundance Film Festival is drawing to a close. The ink on acquisitions is beginning to dry, and both filmmakers and industry have departed Park City, Utah.  What’s left behind is anticipation for brand new genre films placed on a radar.  Films like XX, Kuso, and Get Out already had us salivating for release, but this year’s fest had even more to offer, despite the slim pickings in horror.  Here are 5 buzzworthy standouts to get excited about:

Not only did Marianna Palka write and direct this film, but she boldly plays the lead character as well. As Jill, Palka plays an exhausted mother of four who snaps under life’s pressures and assumes the psyche of a rabid dog. It’s a courageous role and an audacious story, one that lends well to multiple genres. Comedy, drama, and even horror, the Sundance crowd ate up this genre masher.

Written and directed by David Lowery, this artful narrative tells the story of a man forever stuck haunting the home that he shared with his lover upon his premature death. Starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, this is a more quiet, deliberate story of love and the passage of time. In short, it’s not the overt paranormal horror film that the title suggests, but the concept alone is a haunting one. A genre mashup geared more toward the arthouse crowd, this won’t be for everyone. A24 snatched this film up for distribution, so we can expect to see it sometime in the future.

Horror darlings Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel, Ouija) and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) star in this twisted thriller that sees two teenage girls rekindle their friendship over murder. This one falls under dark comedy and dementedly twisted thriller, but the sociopathic murderess teenagers and the lead actresses who play them is enough to appeal to the horror crowd. Also look for Anton Yelchin, in one of his last roles as an unwitting co-conspirator. Written and directed by first-time director Cory Finley, Thoroughbred quickly became one of Sundance’s most buzzed about films, and was purchased by Focus Features for distribution.
This psychological thriller sees Teresa Palmer (Lights Out) playing an Australian photographer who falls for a man in Berlin, only to find herself locked in his apartment. This fast paced, nightmare of sexual control and captivity toes the line between psychological thriller and full blown horror, with taut suspense and grisly subject matter. This film was snatched up by not one, but two distributors; Vertical Entertainment will handle theatrical release and Netflix has acquired streaming rights.

Drawing inspiration from the likes of Funny Games and Straw Dogs, writer/director Damien Power’s camping trip turned utter nightmare kept the Sundance crowd on the edge of their seats with its shocking brutality. Smart characters and unnerving tension makes this one a must watch for horror fans. IFC Midnight purchased this Australian thriller, so we can likely expect to see it sometime later this year.

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