This Friday the 13th we’re thrilled to announce the After Dark program at the 55th Chicago International Film Festival! From blood-splattering gore to suspenseful sci-fi to the outrageously wild, weird and wicked, this lineup of boundary-pushing horror and fringe films from around the world will blow your mind and keep you up late. See the full lineup announcement in the AV Club.
Prepare to squirm with anxiety when attending this year’s haunting After Dark program. This year’s selection is lead by the highly anticipated Zombieland: Double Tap, reuniting the infamous band of zombie apocalypse survivors 10 years later. Additional highlights include Andrew Patterson’s supernatural alien contact story The Vast of Night, which won the audience award at the Slamdance Film Festival, as well as Knives and Skin by Chicago-based director Jennifer Reeder, whose short films have previously screened in our Short Film Competition.
Single film tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, September 27, but become a member now for early access and the best prices on passes and tickets.
The full schedule for the 55th Chicago International Film Festival will be revealed on Wednesday, September 18.
After Dark Program
8: A South African Horror Story — Dir. Harold Hölscher, South Africa
Grounded in South African folklore, this moody, menacing supernatural thriller follows a white family newly arrived on an inherited farm. Soon after moving in, they meet a mysterious local outcast named Lazarus, who carries with him a dark secret that will put everyone at risk. With evocative images, spine-tingling sound-design, and a terrific central performance by Tshamano Sebe, director Harold Hölscher conjures up both visceral scares and a heartbreaking narrative. 99 min.
Deerskin — Dir. Quentin Dupieux, France, Belgium, Switzerland
After bearded loner Georges acquires a new suede jacket, he becomes so infatuated with the garment that he sets off on an oddball crusade that quickly takes on a murderous turn: To eliminate all other jackets. Along the way, he enlists amateur cineaste and bartender Denise to document his quest. At the heart of this wickedly deadpan black comedy is a committed performance from The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, who plays Georges with unabashedly deranged glee. French with subtitles. 77 min.
Girl on the Third Floor — Dir. Travis Stevens, U.S.
Home improvement can be horrible—but for Don (CM Punk), a tattooed dad-to-be fixing up his newly acquired turn-of-the-century Victorian, they can be downright gruesome. With his wife away, Don tries to clean up his own act and the decaying drywall, but the house has other plans. With a bounty of blood-splattering body-horror, Girl on the Third Floor is a supernatural skin-crawler about how things left to rot can come back to haunt you. 93 min.
Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway — Dir. Miguel Llansó, Spain, Estonia, Ethiopia, Latvia, Romania, U.K.
Special Agent DT Gagano suits up for one final mission when a computer virus, a virtual manifestation of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, infiltrates the CIA’s mainframe. As Gagano straps into the simulated universe known as Psycho Book, reality itself begins to unravel. A gonzo melange of 1970s exploitation cinema, kung-fu fighting, Cold War paranoia, and retro sci-fi fuels the madcap action as this absurd adventure careens towards its thrilling, hilarious conclusion. 82 min.
Knives and Skin — Dir. Jennifer Reeder, U.S.
In this mystical Twin Peaks-ian teen noir, the disappearance of a high school student points to dark forces at work in a sleepy Illinois town. Although friends, neighbors, and family search for Carolyn Harper, the case remains unsolved. Unmoored and adrift, the rural community—from the mother of the missing girl to her fellow choir members—tries to soldier on. Surreal, sly, and shocking, Jennifer Reeder’s coming-of-age tale has a fiercely feminist heart. 112 min.
The Vast of Night— Dir. Andrew Patterson, U.S.
One night in a sleepy 1950s New Mexico town, a high-school switchboard operator hears mysterious sounds bleeding through the phone-lines. Running around town, she teams up with a crackerjack radio host to identify the source of the sonic disturbances. Withdynamic, fluid camerawork, a keen use of sound and darkness, and a Spielbergian touch, filmmaker-to-watch Andrew Patterson follows the twosome’s thrilling unearthly investigation as it leads them to dark secrets and realms unknown. 90 min.
Zombieland 2: Double Tap — Dir. Ruben Fleisher, U.S.
A decade after Zombieland became a hit film and a cult classic, the lead cast (Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone) have reunited with director Ruben Fleischer (Venom) and the original writers Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick (Deadpool) for Zombieland: Double Tap. In the sequel, written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick and Dave Callaham, through comic mayhem that stretches from the White House and through the heartland, these four slayers must face off against the many new kinds of zombies that have evolved since the first movie, as well as some new human survivors. But most of all, they have to face the growing pains of their own snarky, makeshift family. 93 min.
Shorts 3: Up at Night – After Dark
Living dreams, waking nightmares, and flesh-hungry animals meet in this eclectic mix of late-night short films.
The cows are unsettled and a child escapes one night as a power plant becomes a Monster God (Dir. Augustina San Martin, Argentina). A deer on an evening car ride collides with some unfortunate Roadkill (Dir. Leszek Mozga, U.K.) In Stucco (Dirs. Janina Gavankar, Russo Schelling, U.S.), an agoraphobic woman finds a suspicious, hollow wall in her house. A downtrodden man receives a powerful gift in the sardonic All Inclusive (Dir. Teemu Nikki, Finland). In Who’s A Good Boy? (Dir. Alex Phillips, U.S.), a creepy park urinator gets his comeuppance. A vacation in a haunted house allows an ethereal peek into the spirit realm in White Echo (Dir. Chloë Sevigny, U.S.). Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences As They Come To You (Dir. Brandon Cronenberg, Canada) delves into dreams during an experimental treatment at a psychiatric facility. 85 min.