IFC Center announced the full slate of the 2019 What The Fest!? film festival, a five-day showcase of outrageous content — horror, sci-fi, documentary, thrillers, and beyond — from March 20th through March 24th.
Opening night of What The Fest!? will feature the World Premiere of Larry Fessenden’s latest film DEPRAVED, his unique take on the classic Frankenstein story — this time, set in contemporary Brooklyn.
More What the Fest!? programming standouts include the North American premiere of Peter Brunner’s TO THE NIGHT, starring Caleb Landry Jones (GET OUT) as a New York artist haunted by his fiery past, as well as the U.S. Premiere of Zack Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein’s FREAKS, starring Emile Hirsch as an overprotective father who holds his young daughter in a homemade fortress until she plans to break free via an ice cream truck driver (Bruce Dern)… and yes, the film is preceded by an ice cream social.
The Closing Night of the festival features the North American premiere of Kiril Sokolov’s WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE!, a stylized, dark action comedy preceded by a stand-up set from comedian Harrison Greenbaum (“Last Comic Standing”).
Opening Night: DEPRAVED (World Premiere)
Synopsis: In Larry Fessenden’s modern take on Frankenstein, the castle in Vienna is now a loft in Brooklyn and lightning is now a miracle drug that’s still in testing, but the creation (Alex Breaux) is still made from dead body parts and still on a quest to learn what it means to be human.
Written & Directed by: Larry Fessenden
Starring: David Call, Joshua Leonard, Alex Breaux, Maria Dizzia
TRT: 114 min.
THE UNTHINKABLE (NY Premiere)
Directed by: Crazy Pictures
Written by: Crazy Pictures & Christoffer Nordenrot
Starring: Christoffer Nordenrot, Jesper Barkselius, Lisa Henni
TRT: 129 min.
Language: Swedish (with English subtitles)
DARLIN’ (East Coast Premiere)
Synopsis: In the sequel to Jack Ketchum’s THE WOMAN (Sundance 2011), Darlin’ is a teenager not unlike any other — except for the fact she’s been raised in the wilderness by a feral woman. Now separated from her family and placed in a Catholic girls reformatory, she’s being assimilated back into society and taught the ways of the Lord. But the feral part of Darlin’ is never far away, and neither is The Woman (writer-director Pollyanna McIntosh, returning to the role) who loved, nurtured, and cared for her, hoping to bring her family back together. A Dark Sky Films Release.
Written & Directed by: Pollyanna McIntosh
Starring: Pollyanna McIntosh, Cooper Andrews, Nora Jane Noone
TRT: 101 min.
ONE CUT OF THE DEAD
Synopsis: ONE CUT OF THE DEAD is a comedy about the making of a one-take zombie movie. The film has won numerous audience awards at festivals around the world, including Best Director and the Audience Award at Fantastic Fest, and was nominated for seven Japanese Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Written & Directed by: Shinichiro Ueda
Starring: Takayuki Hamatsu, Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi Shuhama
TRT: 96 min.
Language: Japanese (with English subtitles)
THE WIND (NY Premiere)
Synopsis: Lizzy (Caitlin Gerard) wants to be a good wife and take care of her home, have children, and patiently bide her time until her husband returns, while she waits alone in the vast, empty plains of the 19th century West. But being by yourself in the middle of nothing, where just the sound of the wind can curl your toes, isn’t that easy. Slowly the forces of nature start feeding into her paranoia. What if something else is out there? When a new couple settles into a house nearby, Lizzy finds comfort in friendship with another young woman (Julia Goldani Telles) and shares her biggest fears with her. But soon enough, she’ll regret that. An IFC Midnight Release.
Directed by: Emma Tammi
Written by: Teresa Sutherland
Starring: Caitlin Gerard, Julia Goldani Telles, Miles Anderson
TRT: 88 min.
GREENER GRASS (East Coast Premiere)
Synopsis: Fresh from its Sundance premiere, this deliciously twisted comedy is set in a demented, timeless suburbia where every adult wears braces on their straight teeth, couples coordinate meticulously pressed outfits, and coveted family members are swapped in more ways than one in this competition for acceptance. Based on their 2016 SXSW award-winning short film by the same name, Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe wrote, directed and star. Beck Bennett (“Saturday Night Live”), Neil Casey (GHOSTBUSTERS, “Inside Amy Schumer”), Mary Holland (MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES, “Veep”) and D’Arcy Carden (“The Good Place”) co-star. An IFC Midnight Release.
Written & Directed by: Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe
Starring: Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, Beck Bennett, Neil Casey, Mary Holland, D’Arcy Carden
TRT: 101 min.
TO THE NIGHT (North American Premiere)
Synopsis: Norman (Caleb Landry Jones) is an installation artist living in a spacious, seemingly half-abandoned loft building by the East River. He’s obsessed with the fire that killed his parents when he was a child, and his life and his art become more and more consumed by that obsession. Pain takes over reason, understanding and moral judgment. Loss fills the spaces he inhabits, like a fire that is given oxygen, roaring and destroying everything on its way.
Written & Directed by: Peter Brunner
Starring: Caleb Landry Jones, Eleonore Hendricks, Abbey Lee
TRT: 102 min.
THE DEAD CENTER (NY Premiere)
Synopsis: In a dark morgue one night, an unidentified suicide victim comes to life and hides nearby. The next day, Edward (Bill Feelhely), the coroner who’s supposed to perform the autopsy, can’t find the corpse of this “John Doe.” Instead, the revived man is found by Daniel (Shane Carruth), a psychiatrist who, believing he’s a catatonic amnesiac, signs him into a hospital ward, ignorant of the fact that the man was previously dead. Completely unaware of each other, Edward and Daniel each start to seek answers to the same, unsettling case from the opposite ends of this hypnotic and horrifying mystery. An Arrow Films Release.
Written & Directed by: Billy Senese
Starring: Shane Carruth, Poorna Jagannathan, Jeremy Childs, Bill Feelhely
TRT: 93 min.
BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK (NY Premiere)
Synopsis: Wendy works as a park ranger, but sometimes she’s a little sloppy at her job. She can be a little careless, a little too chill. When she gets an assignment to take care of the mountain trails that would mean being completely on her own way out in the woods, her friends try to talk her out of it. But Wendy ignores their concern and heads out — ending up stranded overnight at Brighton Rock with a decaying body. What could go wrong? A Magnet release.
Written & Directed by: Roxanne Benjamin
Starring: Karina Fontes, Casey Adams, Emily Althaus
TRT: 88 min.
SHADOW (NY Premiere)
Synopsis: Zhang Yimou returns to the screen with an explosive tale of intrigue and action set within the warring Three Kingdoms. A wild and ambitious ruler, his loyal but cunning commander, and a double he’s set up as insurance play games of deceit as war rages through their kingdom.A Well Go USA Release.
Directed by: Zhang Yimou
Written By: Zhang Yimou & Wei Li
Starring: Chao Deng, Li Sun, Ryan Zheng
TRT: 116 min
Language: Mandarin (with English Subtitles)
SATANIS: THE DEVIL’S MASS (Restoration World Premiere)
Synopsis: This 1970 American documentary takes us inside the infamous “Black House” in San Francisco, where the Church of Satan was established. We also get a glimpse of the neighborhood around it, more and more specifically of the none-too-pleased neighbors, who have quite a few things to say about that damned house. But the heart of the film is a study of Anton Szandor LaVey, former lion tamer and the leader of this cult of devil worshippers, and their ideology that centers around the rejection of guilt, sexual freedom, and self-indulgence. Part of WTF!? 2019’s special focus “Satan Is Your Friend,” a look at contemporary satanism.
Directed by: Ray Laurent
TRT: 86 min.
FREAKS (U.S. Premiere)
Synopsis: Chloe (Lexy Kolker) is a young girl who lives with her father Henry (Emile Hirsch) in a massive, abandoned house that’s tricked out like a kind of fortress. Chloe’s never been outside the house before, but she trains every day to make sure she can keep up with the false identity she’ll have to assume when she’s ready to venture outdoors. Henry entertains his daughter and seems like a sweet dad, until a day when she almost gets out and he flips, shouting at her “You’re not normal yet! You’ll die if you go outside!” But Chloe has other plans, which not-so-accidentally collide with an ice-cream truck and its driver (Bruce Dern) who’s trying to lure little girl out into the big, bad world. A Well Go USA Release.
Written & Directed by: Zack Lipovsky & Adam B. Stein
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Lexy Kolker
TRT: 104 min.
HAIL SATAN? (NY Premiere)
Synopsis: Fresh from its Sundance premiere, the film follows the rise of The Satanic Temple, a mysterious organization led by Lucien Greaves that’s calling for Satanic revolution to save America’s soul. The Temple’s first rally was on the steps of Florida’s state Capitol in 2013, in which the group sported demonic masks and carried a banner proclaiming “Hail Satan! Hail Rick Scott!” But despite its name, the Temple’s true purpose is to remind people that our nation was founded on a separation of church and state, arguing that if you welcome Christianity into the classroom, you’ve got to invite Satan too. As the organization grows, it focuses on promoting social justice, exposing hypocrisy and supporting true religious freedom in all its forms. Part of WTF!? 2019’s special focus “Satan Is Your Friend,” a look at contemporary satanism. A Magnolia Pictures release.
Directed by: Penny Lane
Featuring: Lucien Greaves
TRT: 95 min.
Closing Night: WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE! (North American Premiere)
Synopsis: WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE! is stylized, dark action comedy about a group of people brought together in the apartment of police detective Andrei: his resentful daughter, an angry thug and a cheated cop. Each one of them has a reason to want revenge. The film is a tale of crime, corruption, greed, dysfunctional families, unrequited love and lots and lots of blood — proudly displaying its influences while it forges its own path.
Written & Directed by: Kirill Sokolov
Starring: Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Vitaliy Khaev, Evgeniya Kregzhde
TRT: 100 min.
Language: Russian (with English subtitles)