This year's Midnight Madness section will feature eight new films that deconstruct and play with genre conventions, provoke audiences, and transcend borders.
In his sensational Free Fire, Ben Wheatley (High-Rise) pokes fun at the seemingly menacing world of male criminals, giving audiences a brilliant pastiche of Tarantino's ReservoirDogs. The film features an insane shootout, amusing dialogue, and a phenomenal cast, including Brie Larson and Cillian Murphy. One of the producers is Martin Scorsese, which could not possibly be an accident. In Asura: The City of Madness, South Korea's Sung-su Kim takes audiences to a similar place. This brooding, blood-soaked, wonderfully made, neo-noir-style police film was a hit at the festivals in Toronto and Rotterdam.
This year's selection also includes two titles from Australia. An award winner at Venice, Ben Young's visually refined, 1980s-style Hounds of Love is the brutal, suspenseful story of the abduction and imprisonment a 17-year-old girl by serial killers. Damien Power's Killing Ground, a hit at the Sundance Festival, is an intriguing response to Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, an exhilarating thriller about the aggression lurking in human beings.
The program also includes the three craziest films of the year. Amat Escalante (Sangre,Heli) takes familiar subject matter from such films as Andrzej Żuławski's Possession and Walerian Borowczyk's TheBeast and turns it on its head. Awarded the Silver Lion in Venice for best camp director, the camp The Untamed mixes a sci-fi formula with a psychedelic thriller and Mexican ferociousness with absurdity. Following this year's Sundance Festival, Kuso, directed by cult musician and experimental filmmaker Flying Lotus, was unanimously proclaimed the most disgusting film of all time. The American artist's post-apocalyptic, bizarre, distasteful vision will undoubtedly be one of the festival's most controversial films. The Greek director known as The Boy has made, in turn, the wildest European film: Thread is a flashy, expressive, original science-fiction feature that will surely divide New Horizons audiences.
The last movie in the section is the acclaimed British film The Girl With All the Gifts starring Glenn Close, which is a new take on the zombie movie genre. Screened at numerous festivals around the world, Colm McCarthy's critically acclaimed film is mesmerizing and based on an intriguingly novel idea.