Horror Watch List for TIFF 2017

Since 1975 the Toronto International Film Festival has been dedicated to presenting the best of international and Canadian cinema to film lovers. Audiences looking for ghosts and gore have turned to TIFF’s Midnight Madness screenings as a source of all-things-horror for 20 years, but this year’s festival finds genre film all throughout the programming.

The 42nd incarnation of the Toronto International Film Festival highlights the diversity of genre film making, featuring Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, Vince Vaughn in S. Craig Zahler’s Brawl in Cell Block 99, and Darren Aronofsky’s highly-anticipated mother!

Public sale for individual tickets begins Tuesday September 8th on the TIFF site.

   

 

Our Must-See Watch List Below:

The Shape of Water

USA, 2017
Canadian Premiere, 123 mins
Director by Guillermo del Toro

In 1963, Elisa (Sally Hawkins) works as a janitor at a US government laboratory. One night, a strange, amphibious creature (Doug Jones) is wrangled into the facility. Elisa is more fascinated than frightened. What scares her more is the threat posed by the federal agent in charge (Michael Shannon). Cruel and self-serving, he seems convinced the surest way to handle the mysterious creature is to kill it. With the help of her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins), her co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer), and a sympathetic scientist (Michael Stuhlbarg), Elisa hatches a plan to save the creature’s life, at the risk of her own.

The Lodgers

Ireland, 2017
World Premiere, 93 mins
Directed by Brian O’Malley

Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner) are 18-year-old orphaned twins inhabiting the decaying manor that’s been in their family for centuries. Since losing their parents, the siblings live under an ancient family curse that forbids them from staying out late or from permanently leaving — or accepting strangers into — their home. Edward, a gloomy shut-in, adheres to these rules, but Rachel pushes their limits — particularly now that handsome young veteran Sean (Eugene Simon) has returned to the neighbouring village. As finances dwindle and watery phantoms begin crowding the manor, Rachel and Edward must decide whether their destiny is sealed or their family’s horrible hex can finally be brought to an end.

 

The Cured

Ireland, UK, France, 2017
World Premiere, 95 mins
Directed by David Freyne

Senan (Sam Keeley) has been through hell. When the zombie plague swept across Ireland he was among the thousands afflicted and rendered into rabid ghouls. Senan did horrible things he cannot forget — and neither can the public, nor the authorities charged with policing those released from captivity. Senan’s sister-in-law Abbie (Ellen Page), however, is willing to give him a second chance. She lets him live with her and her young son, believing that Senan’s actions while infected were beyond his control. But as an angry anti-cured movement burgeons in tandem with an increasingly radicalized pro-cured movement, Abbie is forced to question just how far her trust should be pushed.

Marrowbone (El Secreto de Marrowbone)

Spain, 2017
World Premiere, 110 mins
Directed by Sergio G. Sánchez

Escaping an abusive father and a troubled past in Britain, Rose (Nicola Harrison) and her four children travel to an inherited home in rural America. The voyage is taxing on Rose and she soon dies from an illness. In order to stay together, the children plan to hide their mother’s death until the 21st birthday of eldest son Jack (George MacKay). He and 19-year-old Jane (Mia Goth), 18-year-old Billy (Charlie Heaton) and five-year-old Sam (Matthew Stagg) live in impoverished conditions as they keep their secret from the world. When a nosy lawyer comes poking into their lives, the dreadful truth about what is hiding in the old Marrowbone house comes to light. The friendship of their ally, Allie (Anya Taylor-Joy), becomes their only hope.

 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Ireland, UK, 2016
North American Premiere, 120 mins
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a cardiac surgeon who develops a paternal friendship with a 16-year-old named Martin (Barry Keoghan). Over time Steven introduces Martin to his wife (Nicole Kidman) and two children. The boy, determined to ingratiate himself into this unfamiliar new family, becomes something like an adopted son. It’s not long before things start to get strange — very strange — and the plot of Euripides’ play Iphigenia in Aulis makes its entrance.

Vampire Clay (Chi wo Suu Nendo)

Japan, 2017
World Premiere, 81 mins
Directed by Soîchi Umezawa

Japanese director and master makeup artist Soichi Umezawa gives life to a plasticine demon that subsequently devours the denizens of a rural art school. (Closing Night film for TIFF’s Midnight Madness program)

 

mother!

USA, 2017
North American Premiere, 115 mins
Directed by Darren Aronofsky

A young, pregnant woman (Jennifer Lawrence) busies herself in a vast, unfamiliar house, trying to renovate it into submission. Her new, older husband (Javier Bardem) is a brilliant author, acclaimed all over the world for his insight into humanity and his mastery of language. They love each other deeply, so why are their days so fraught with tension? Why do small misunderstandings seem to pile up? Why do these newlyweds on the verge of welcoming new life into the world seem about to tear each other apart?

Mom and Dad

USA, 2016
World Premiere, 83 mins
Directed by Brian Taylor

Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair star in this pitch-black horror-comedy about a worldwide mass hysteria where, for 24 brutal hours, parents turn violently against their own children.

Revenge 

France, 2017
World Premiere, 108 mins

Directed by Coralie Fargeat

Evoking Kubrick’s Lolita, Jen (Matilda Lutz), arrives at a remote desert villa with her millionaire Adonis boy toy (Kevin Jannsens) for a weekend of romantic (and illicit) frivolity. Things go south quickly when her lover’s unseemly hunting pals show up and make inappropriate advances that escalate into an outright assault. The men quickly try to sweep their attack under the rug, but Jen won’t have it and, well… hell hath no fury….

 

Brawl in Cell Block 99

USA, 2017
North American Premiere, 132 mins
Directed by S. Craig Zahler

Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, and Don Johnson star in this bloody thriller from Bone Tomahawk writer-director S. Craig Zahler, in which a former boxer turned drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.

Downrange

USA, 2017
World Premiere, 90 mins
Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura

Stranded at the side of the road after a tire blowout, a group of friends become targets for an enigmatic sniper, in this wickedly entertaining bloodbath from Midnight Madness regular Ryuhei Kitamura (TIFF alumni, Versus).

Valley of Shadows (Skyggenes Dal)

Norway, 2017
World Premiere, 91 mins
Directed by Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen

A young boy ventures into the forest in search of mysterious creatures that eat sheep, in this delightfully creepy Scandinavian Gothic fable from Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen.

 

The Ritual

UK, 2016
World Premiere, 95 mins
Directed by David Bruckner

Venturing into the wilderness of the Swedish highlands to perform a remembrance for a dearly departed friend, four men are subjected to a night of terror when they unwisely take refuge in a derelict house.

Motorrad

Brazil, 2017
World Premiere, 92 mins
Directed by Vicente Amorim

In director Vicente Amorim’s wild and weird allegorical thriller, a gang of young dirt-bikers on a ride across an isolated region of Brazil find themselves being hunted by a machete-wielding band of motorcyclists intent on killing them all.

Pyewacket

Canada, 2016
World Premiere, 87 mins
Directed by Adam MacDonald

A frustrated girl attempts an occult ritual in order to kill her mother, but awakens something sinister in the woods instead, in the latest from director Adam MacDonald (Backcountry).

Veronica

Spain, 2017
International Premiere, 105 min
Directed by Paco Plaza 

Inspired by real events that transpired in Madrid in 1991, Verónica chronicles a teenage girl’s descent into terror following her naïve attempt to communicate with her dead father using a ouija board.

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JonOnAString

Jonathan is Co-Host and Co-Creator of Nightmare on Film Street. He’s also a coffee grinding, craft beer drinking, bearded lady in disguise. His favorite horror movies are Evil Dead 2, The Thing, & Videodrome.