The fall festival season has finally settled down, meaning all eyes now turn to the new year for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Proving its never too early to start shoring up anticipation, the Sundance Institute has announced surprisingly early the nine titles that will make up the festival’s famous Midnight section, which has helped launch horror and genre breakouts like “The Blair Witch Project,” “The Babadook,” “Super Troopers” and “What We Do in the Shadows” in the past.
More of the Sundance lineup will be revealed in the coming weeks, including the Midnight section’s short film program, and the festival takes place January 21-31, 2016. Below are the nine titles announced by Sundance earlier this morning, headed by new efforts from Kevin Smith and Rob Zombie. Synopses provided by Sundance.
“31” / U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: Rob Zombie
Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Brake, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Meg Foster
Five friends are kidnapped on the day before Halloween and are held hostage in a terrifying place named Murder World. While trapped, they must play a violent game called 31, in which the mission is to survive 12 hours against a gang of evil clowns.
“Antibirth” / U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: Danny Perez
Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, Mark Webber, Meg Tilly, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos.
In a desolate community full of drug-addled marines and rumors of kidnapping, a wild-eyed stoner named Lou wakes up after a crazy night of partying with symptoms of a strange illness and recurring visions. As she struggles to get a grip on reality, the stories of conspiracy spread.
“The Blackout Experiments” / U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director: Rich Fox
A group of friends discover the dark underworld of the ultra-scary, psychosexual horror experience called Blackout. But what starts as a thrill ride through the unknown becomes deeply personal, developing into an obsession that hijacks their lives and blurs the line between reality and paranoid fantasy.
“Carnage Park” / U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: Mickey Keating
Cast: Ashley Bell, Pat Healy, Alan Ruck, Darby Stanchfield, James Landry Hébert, Larry Fessenden
The year is 1978. A team of wannabe crooks botch a small-town bank heist and flee with their hostage deep into the California desert, where they inexplicably find themselves in a harrowing fight for survival against a psychotic ex-military sniper.
“The Greasy Strangler” / U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director: Jim Hosking, Screenwriters: Jim Hosking, Toby Harvard
Cast: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Jesse Keen, Joe David Walters
When Big Ronnie and his son Brayden meet lone female tourist Janet on Big Ronnie’s Disco Walking Tour—the best and only disco walking tour in the city—a fight for Janet’s heart erupts between father and son, and the infamous Greasy Strangler is unleashed.
“Outlaws and Angels” / U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: JT Mollner
Cast: Chad Michael Murray, Francesca Eastwood, Luke Wilson, Teri Polo, Madisen Beaty, Nathan Russell.
With a notorious bounty hunter closing in on their trail, a gang of cold-blooded outlaws invades the home of a seemingly innocent frontier family, where an unexpected game of cat and mouse ensues throughout the night, leading to seduction, role reversal, and ultimately bloody revenge.
“Trash Fire” / U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: Richard Bates Jr.
Cast: Adrian Grenier, Angela Trimbur, AnnaLynne McCord, Fionnula Flanagan, Matthew Gray Gubler, Ray Santiago
When Owen is forced to confront the past he’s been running from his whole adult life, he and his girlfriend, Isabel, become entangled in a horrifying web of lies, deceit, and murder. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be scarred for life.
“Under the Shadow” / United Kingdom, Jordan / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: Babak Anvari
Cast: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian, Arash Marandi
Tehran, 1988: As the Iran-Iraq War rumbles into its eighth year, a mother and daughter are slowly torn apart by the bombing campaigns on the city coupled with the country’s bloody revolution. As they struggle to stay together amidst these terrors, a mysterious evil stalks through their apartment.
“Yoga Hosers” / U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: Kevin Smith
Cast: Lily-Rose Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Johnny Depp, Justin Long, Austin Butler, Tyler Posey
Colleen Collette and Colleen McKenzie are teenage besties from Winnipeg who love yoga and live on their smartphones. But when these sophomores get invited to a senior party by the school hottie, the Colleens accidentally uncover an ancient evil buried beneath their Canadian convenience store.