By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire August 14, 2012 at 10:35AM
#3. "The Snowtown Murders"
Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel didn't hold back with his feature directorial debut "The Snowtown Murders," a grisly true account of one of the worst serial killer cases in the country's history. Kurzel's no-holds-barred approach paid off. The film opened via IFC Films after winning the Special Jury Prize at last year's Cannes' Critics Week and picking up a slew of honors at the Australia Film Awards. "The Snowtown Murders" (previously titled "Snowtown" on the festival circuit) follows Elizabeth Harvey (Louise Harris), a mother raising three boys in South Australia's Snowtown. After discovering that her boyfriend has pedophilic tendencies, she takes in a new man, John Bunting (a terrifying Daniel Henshall), who turns out to be even more vicious that the last. It isn't long before John gets close with Elizabeth's son Jamie (newcomer Lucas Pittaway), a soft-spoken outcast. From there on in, Kurzel's debut shows just how easy it is for a young mind to be corrupted to perform unspeakable acts.
Extras: Audio commentary with Kurzel; deleted scenes with commentary by Kurzel; video interviews with the cast; a featurette on the Snowtown crimes; and the theatrical trailer.
#4. "Juan of the Dead"
Every year seems to yield a slew of zombie films, so when a good one pops up, we get excited. "Juan of the Dead" is one of the best to come along in ages. The film takes place in Havana, where zombies have run amok to take over the city. Leave it to forty-year-old slacker Juan to save the day. "In the enjoyable zombedy 'Juan of the Dead,' director Alexander Brugués uses the onslaught of lurching corpses to toy with the country's revolutionary history and struggling underclass," wrote Kohn in his review. "Set in a Havana beset by devastation, Brugués (making his sophomore feature after 2006's 'Personal Belongings') has chosen an easy target and shoots straight. 'Juan of the Dead' is a goofy editorial cartoon peppered with gore."
Extras: Trailer, making-of featurette and some deleted scenes.