The 14th edition of A Night of Horror International Film Festival takes place at Dendy Cinemas Newtown, Sydney, Australia, from October 17th until October 23rd, 2022, and what a lineup the fest has in store! With features and shorts from around the globe, A Night of Horror serves up everything from slashers to the supernatural, monsters to murderers, and all manner of mayhem. Here are six slices of scare-fare that we here at The Scariest Things can’t wait to watch! Descriptions are from the festival’s official website, which you can check out for full listings and ticket information:
Original title: Mal de Ojo
Dir: Isaac Ezban
Mexico/2022/100 min/In Spanish with English subtitles/R18
Nala (Paola Miguel), a 13-year-old girl from the city, travels with her family to her grandmother’s home in the countryside, to try and find a cure for her little sister’s mysterious illness. But she’ll soon find her granny (Ofelia Medina) is not exactly what she seems.
After premiering two science fiction thrillers at Fantastic Planet Film Festival (ANOH’s original sister fest) A Night of Horror alumni Ezban (ANOH 2011 – Best Short Film, NASTY STUFF) comes home to roost with his first full-blown horror feature, and it’s wicked. Playing with everyone’s childhood fears he delivers the nightmare goods with all the nasty trimmings. Ezban is the next Del Toro (yup, we said it!)!
AFTER SHE DIED
Dir: Jack Dignan
Australia/2022/101 min/In English and Spanish with English subtitles/R18
A grieving teenager, Jen (Liliana Ritchie), is horrified to discover that her father’s new girlfriend, Florence (Vanessa Madrid), looks identical to her dead mother. She struggles to cope with this alarming scenario, and soon becomes aware of an even more shocking and diabolical truth beneath the façade.
Young Sydney-based writer/director Dignan has made an auspicious debut, garnering terrific performances from his two leads, Ritchie and Madrid, and coupling the character battle with stylish cinematography and a striking visual narrative. Slowly ratcheting up the familial tension and imposter craziness as they start to blur together into full-blown nightmare territory. There will be blood.
PLUS: Q&A with writer/director Jack Dignan
Original title: L’orafo
Dir: Vincenzo Ricchiuto
Italy/2022/88 min/In Italian with English subtitles/R18
Determined to rob a wealthy goldsmith, three hot-headed opportunists (Tania Bambaci, Gianluca Vannucci, Mike Cimini), who’ve known each other since adolescence, break into the jeweler’s country house. The elderly man (Giuseppe Pamberi) and his unassuming wife (Stefania Casini) turn out to be a lot less defenseless than they first seem. Who knows where this charade will end?
Channeling the elaborate, high-concept Euro-horrors of the late 70s and early 80s, director Ricciuto keeps the reins tight, and the narrative continues to surprise for the duration of this super-stylish house invasion-gone-awry. You want sly secrets, cold betrayal, and ocular horror? You got it in spades. You want the Persian rug pulled from under you? You’ll be sure to crack your head.
YOUR LOVE IS MINE
Dirs: Luke Wijayasinha-Gray & Luke J.S.
This is the story of Violet (Senie Priti) and Sam (Lester Ellis) trapped in a small dead-end town, down under. When their relationship is torn apart by sudden tragedy, one of them goes to unthinkable lengths to preserve their union.
A unique and daring hybrid of drama and horror and ill-fated romance. Imagine the lovelorn melodrama and otherworldly weirdness of David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” set in rural Australia, where soft dreams of light slide into hard, cruel darkness, where grief and unhealthy attachment become hopelessly, dangerously overwhelming, when love makes you do the damnedest, craziest things, when you lose control… and all you want to do is ride your motorcycle into the sunset.
IN THE WOODS
Original title: Im Wald
Dir: Manuel Weiss
Germany/2022/82 min/In German with English subtitles/R18
A concerned father (Tobias Kay) and his sullen teenage daughter (Jolie Joan), are traveling to his new girlfriend’s house, but are forced to take a detour along an isolated forest road. They soon find themselves facing inexplicable, menacing incidents after their car unexpectedly breaks down in the supposedly deserted woods.
What horror fan doesn’t dig a frightening, pitch-black forest?! It’s a perfect recipe for nightmares. Essentially a psychological two-hander, writer/director Weiss allows his exceptional actors to own the narrative, as they forge their way through the foreboding landscape. Personal conflicts are slammed up against the threat of the unknown, and when the unknown is thrust into the open, the menace strikes hard.
Dir: Stephanie Zari
Catherine (Sarah Roy) has the seemingly perfect rural life. But it’s turned upside down after she discovers her husband, Dan (Tom Cullen), is hiding an awful secret that leads her to commit the unthinkable. Catherine’s mysterious best friend, Anita (Jade Anouka), shows up for support, and reality begins to blur as Catherine’s tragic past is slowly revealed, along with a hell of a skeleton in her closet.
Adapting Derek Ahonen’s 2017 stage play, director Zari and co-screenwriter and star Roy have made a disturbing delight as Zari’s debut feature. Finding the dark beauty in pain and trauma, how humanity can be recklessly twisted by the fragility of a damaged mind, ZEBRA GIRL blurs the black and white stripes of reality and fantasy, between dark comedy and visceral thrills, keeping the audience pitched forward on their seats, as the true horror spills.