The 2021 Brooklyn Horror Film Festival will be returning in-person October 14 – 21 with 14 feature films and 6 shorts blocks.
Take a look below for each of the features screening this year and for more information head over to brooklynhorrorfest.com.
OPENING NIGHT FILM
GOOD MADAM (MLUNGU WAM)
South Africa | 2021 | 92 Min. | Dir. Jenna Cato Bass
Tsidi, a single mother grieving over her beloved grandmother’s death, moves back into her childhood home in the well-off suburbs of Cape Town with her young daughter. It’s there where her estranged mother still lives, working diligently as the caretaker for her white, bedridden “Madam,” Diane. Tensions mount as Tsidi becomes increasingly critical of her mother’s unwavering obedience towards Madam and odd happenings begin to emanate around the house, at first mere changes in everyone’s personalities but gradually evolving into supernatural dangers. Keeping horror’s tradition as film’s great social commentary genre alive, Jenna Cato Bass examines the lingering pains and nightmares of South Africa’s apartheid through a psychological horror lens, and the results are excellent.
United Kingdom, France, Belgium | 2021 | 114 Min. | Dir. Lucile Hadžihalilović
The 20th century. Somewhere, Europe. Inside a darkly lit apartment, a man tends to a seemingly normal 10-year-old girl with ice cubes for teeth. Told that his boarding of the girl is over, he’s ordered to bring her to a new location, but along the way they encounter a woman with an ax to grind. That’s where any plot synopsis for Lucile Hadžihalilović’s beguiling, ornate and wholly unclassifiable film should end—part of its charm is sheer unpredictability. The one easily understood element, though, is that, like her previous films (Innocence, Evolution), Earwig provides the kind of stunning unease that only Hadžihalilović can deliver.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
East Coast Premiere
Taiwan | 2021 | 99 Min. | Dir. Rob Jabbaz
In eerily prescient pandemic time Taiwan, the Alvin Virus is seemingly in retreat when it suddenly mutates and explodes. As the infected become depraved lunatics, acting out their sickest and most violent desires, a young couple caught in the infernal crossfire are hurtled into an unimaginable fight for survival. With The Sadness, director Rob Jabbaz takes a blood-and-puss-filled syringe to the zombie genre, injecting it with relentless visions of murderous carnage and sexual savagery. You’ve been warned.
MAIN FEATURE SLATE
AFTER BLUE (DIRTY PARADISE)
France | 2021 | 130 Min. | Dir. Bertrand Mandico
Set in an acid-trip-like future, on the exclusively women-inhabited planet known as After Blue, a hairdresser’s teenage daughter unwittingly empowers a long-dormant witch (of sorts, as nothing is only one thing in this film’s world) to revive the bloody nihilism of her past. In order to restore their good names, mother and daughter must navigate through a surrealist, fever-dream-minded landscape to track the evil woman down and eliminate her. As crazy as that synopsis sounds, singular French auteur Bertrand Mandico’s (The Wild Boys, BHFF 2019 selection Apocalypse After) genre-flipping and visually stunning film itself is ten times crazier, covering horror, sci-fi, western, and erotica all with excellent precision, often simultaneously. An Altered Innocence release.
Spain | 2021 | 93 Min. | Dir. Alfonso Cortés-Cavanillas
Stuck alone inside her apartment due to COVID, a young woman decides to pass the time clicking through a dating site. It doesn’t take long before she makes an odd and uncomfortable discovery: A woman who looks exactly like her, and who is interested in more than just a romantic connection—she wants her full life and identity. With its trippy doppelganger vibes that bring to mind Brooklyn Horror 2018 selection Cam but heightening them with a meaner edge and a hypnotic dread, Alfonso Cortés-Cavanillas’s Ego turns quarantining into psychological hell.
United Kingdom | 2021 | 93 Min. | Dir. Lee Haven Jones
A luxurious dinner party inside a lush house in the Welsh countryside is doomed upon the arrival of the family’s mysterious new hired helper with a dark agenda of her own. Gorgeously shot and viciously cruel, award-winning director Lee Haven Jones’ transfixing knockout marries angry eco-horror with a brutal classism takedown, resulting in a first-class modern folk nightmare. It’s nirvana for arthouse horror lovers. An IFC Midnight release.
THE LAST THING MARY SAW
USA | 2021 | 89 Min. | Dir. Edoardo Vitaletti
Co-Presented by NewFest
In mid-1800s New York, Mary has to keep her romance with her family’s maid, Eleanor, hidden, as it goes against every belief that her intensely religious family holds dear. Despite their efforts, they’re caught, and the consequences that befall Mary go beyond just the Lord’s ways—they tap into evil as well. Ornate in its period-specific production and basking in its slow-burn creepiness, first-time filmmaker Edoardo Vitaletti’s impressive debut explores the darker sides of faith-gone-wrong fanaticism with precision and a sneakily malignant force. A Shudder Original Film.
France | 2019 | 51 Min. | Dir. Gaspar Noé
On the set of the fictional witchcraft horror film, God’s Work, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg (playing herself), acclaimed French actress Béatrice Dalle (also as herself) bears witness to an assortment of on-set pandemonium as the production goes haywire. Made as an aggressively extended commercial for Yves Saint Laurent, iconoclastic master Gaspar Noé’s vibrant and assaultive mockumentary distills his wildest directorial flourishes (think Enter the Void and Climax, specifically) into a 50-minute shock to the system.
NELLY RAPP – MONSTER AGENT
North American Premiere
Sweden | 2020 | 92 Min. | Dir. Amanda Adolfsson
Nelly isn’t like the other kids in her middle school class. To start, she’s a horror junkie, unlike most of her friends, but taking things even further into the abnormal, her family has a long history of keeping people safe from vampires, zombies and other ghouls. As the young Nelly excitedly tries to carry on tradition she’s forced to come of age in the wildest of ways. A charming horror-comedy that’s both hilarious and heartfelt, Amanda Adolfsson’s family-friendly gem winks at genre touchstones like Universal Monsters while still forming its own delightfully playful identity. It’s monster-heavy fun for all ages. A Janson Media release.
USA | 2021 | 107 Min. | Dir. Adam Randall
When college student Benny gets to cover his older brother’s chauffeur duties, he anticipated a fun night of driving rich folks around Los Angeles. But the two young women he picks have something else in mind. As it turns out, they’re high-society vampires looking for fresh kills. Fast-paced, slick and sharp, Adam Randall’s follow-up to his 2019 SXSW-premiering horror mystery I See You is a highly entertaining piece of bloodsucker pop cinema, complete with memorable appearances from Megan Fox and Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney. A Netflix Original Film.
WHAT JOSIAH SAW
USA | 2021 | 120 Min. | Dir. Vincent Grashaw
A mother’s death hangs over her children’s lives in this haunting, Southern Gothic tale. As the story unfolds through four chapters, we’re introduced to the vastly different lives of a group of adult siblings from the codependent relationship between Thomas and his abusive father Josiah, to the criminal life of Eli and Mary, whose main concern is adopting a child of her own. Each new section brings a shift in genre while always maintaining a dark and foreboding tone culminating in a shocking reunion at their childhood farmhouse.
WHEN I CONSUME YOU
USA | 2021 | 92 Min. | Dir. Perry Blackshear
Wilson Shaw (Evan Dumouchel) and his sister Daphne (Libby Ewing) have suffered through disappointment after disappointment for their entire lives. Only during the final throes of their misery do they discover a malevolent entity has been behind their misfortune all along, and the siblings set out to eradicate it from their bloodline once and for all. With his third feature, following the acclaimed They Look Like People and The Siren (BHFF 2018 Closing Night), Perry Blackshear gathers the same great core acting trio of his previous films plus the excellent Ewing to tell his darkest story yet— one of fierce love and loyalty in the face of ultimate evil.
SESSION 9 – 20th Anniversary Screening
USA | 2001 | 100 Min. | Dir. Brad Anderson
Twenty years ago, director Brad Anderson and a top-notch group of character actors turned Massachusetts’ storied and creepy-as-hell Danvers State Mental Hospital into the setting for Session 9, one of the horror genre’s all-time bleakest and most psychologically terrifying films— no hyperbole at all. It’s the story of an asbestos clean-up crew’s descent into madness and destruction at the hands of the hospital’s supernatural powers, and it’s lost none of its stunning ability to burrow into its viewer’s minds— and, most importantly, scare the hell out of them. Join Brooklyn Horror for a special 20th anniversary screening, including an exclusive virtual Q&A with director/co-writer Brad Anderson and actor/co-writer Stephen Gevedon.
TROUBLE EVERY DAY – 20th Anniversary Screening
France, Germany, Japan | 2001 | 101 Min. | Dir. Claire Denis
With an extended intro by Dr. Kate Robertson, author of Devil’s Advocates: Trouble Every Day.
In Claire Denis’ polarizing sixth feature film, two researchers— Shane and Core— are afflicted by an unnatural and uncontrollable hunger produced by a plant they discovered on a research expedition. Visiting Paris on his honeymoon, Shane searches for Core’s husband Leo, who led the study, hoping for a cure for the vicious desire that threatens to consume him. A slow build-up of dread culminates in two acts of horrific violence which situate the film in the New French Extremity and a long tradition of transgressive cinema. Twenty years after its premiere at Cannes, the still-divisive film has retained the unnerving ability to get under the skin, offering a visceral and unforgettable cinematic experience.