Popular Film, Music, and Interactive festival SXSW in Austin, TX is gearing up for another year of festivities.  Just over a month away, announcements have begun to reveal this year’s film festival lineup.  Our favorite section, the Midnighters, reserved for the scary, provocative after-dark features for night owls, won’t be announced until next week. But that hasn’t stopped us from poring over the current slate of films to cherry pick what’s worthwhile for genre fans while we wait. The great news is, even before the addition of the Midnighters to the lineup, there’s a lot to get excited about. Here’s what we’re most looking forward to so far:


Adapted from Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel, American Gods follows Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) in a hidden world where a battle is brewing between Old Gods and New. (World Premiere)

As if a Neil Gaiman adaptation isn’t enough to whet your appetite, this series is co-written by Bryan Fuller. You know, the brilliant mind behind NBC’s Hannibal? Yeah. This show is going to be good.


A feature-length documentary about the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, 78/52 takes an unprecedented look at the ‘man behind the curtain’ and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.

A full feature length film about one particular, albeit iconic scene sounds crazy, right? The buzz out of Sundance for this one has been stellar, making this a must see.


An unapologetic party girl (Anne Hathaway) dreams of a fresh start only to discover a mysterious and fantastical connection between herself and a city-wrecking monster on the other side of the globe.

One of our own caught this at TIFF and loved it (review), so this is already an anticipated film. But if you can’t make it to SXSW, that’s ok. This one will get an actual release in April.


Alice Lowe (Sightseers) is a triple threat as the writer, director and star of this pitch-black comedy about a pregnant woman whose unborn child spurs her on to murder.

Another festival favorite with high accolades (review), this one sounds just as dark as it is hilarious.


Small Crimes is a delightfully suspenseful, blackly comic tale that follows a disgraced former cop, fresh off a six-year prison sentence for attempted murder, who returns home looking for redemption but winds up trapped in the mess he left behind.

Clearly not horror but a darkly comedic thriller, so why is it on this list? For one, it was directed by Evan Katz, the mind behind Cheap Thrills. And two, Katz co-wrote the screenplay with Macon Blair (Green Room, Blue Ruin). So, this is a thriller that genre will likely fall in love with.


A pregnant woman, who is taking care of her son with development problems, is at her breaking point when a caregiver from the Philippines steps into her life. Diana suspects that she’s using voodoo against her after the quick improvements of her son.

A paranoid thriller that sounds full of suspense and potential twists? I’m so in.


Archer champion Lauren Pierce escapes a corrupt juvenile correctional facility with Rebecca, a fierce but alluring inmate and together they must survive a desperate warden who is bow-hunting his prey to make sure his secret stays buried.

Two girls versus a ruthless bow-hunter. Do we really need to know anything else? This sounds not only suspenseful, but also quite brutal.


This atmospheric New York tale about love, loss, and vampires follows Milo, a 14-year-old boy with a dark secret. The surprise of the Cannes Film Festival 2016.

While the concept sounds intriguing enough, there’s really one name among the cast that drives home that this should be on the list: Larry Fessenden. This long time horror vet should make any genre film worth checking out, but if you need a second reason then perhaps Troma president Lloyd Kaufman should be it.


A reckless loner, desperate for human connection, sets out on a crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. Her reality quickly splinters into a surreal nightmare as her exploits spiral out of control.

Any thriller that spirals into a “surreal nightmare” warrants a peak. But I should also mention that horror vets Larry Fessenden and Jeremy Gardner star alongside Addison Timlin (Odd Thomas).


In space, no one can hear you scream.

Right. We’re well acquainted with this masterpiece, so what’s the deal? We’re not sure yet. It’s simply listed as a Special Event. In SXSW this means that this screening will indeed be special. It could screen with a live soundtrack or feature special guests. Details are forthcoming, but here’s the interesting thing- the film still the fest provided is for Alien:Convenant, not Alien. So I’m taking this as a not so subtle hint that this screening will tie in to the upcoming sequel in some way. You can bet that I’ll find out what it is and report back.

 

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