“And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.”
The above quote, from Stephen King’s 1983 seminal novel Pet Sematary, is perfectly apt for SXSW 2019. Audiences will be gifted Jordan Peele’s Us on opening night as well as Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s Pet Sematary world premiere on closing night. The festival itself encompasses 131 Feature Films including 100 World Premieres, so the struggle to maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity is dead-on ... but that’s also half the fun!
Horror is definitely taking the spotlight at this year’s fest, and I for one could not be more excited. The Midnighters offer a healthy dose of feral children, haunted houses, and extraterrestrial creatures. They’ve also added Michael Chaves’ Latin-American folklore-based horror The Curse of La Llorona and festival favorite Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters into the mix, as well.
In the age of perpetual Stephen King adaptations, Pet Sematary is obviously on my radar. Personally, I love the book, the 1989 original, and even its polarizing sequel - both directed by Mary Lambert. It'll be interesting to see what cinematic renditions Kolsch and Widmyer have buried in their backyard. To balance out the fright, the Festival Favorites span intriguing political and scientific narratives, punk rock anthems, dark comedies, and even historical accounts with a look back at the Apollo 11 mission.
I’ll be covering the fest again this year and hope to hit as many films as possible. So, if you’re excited about any films in particular, let us know in the comments! Here’s the full Midnighters line-up, if you're interested or attending:
Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – ten provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.
7 Reasons to Run Away (From Society)
D: Esteve Soler, Gerard Quinto, David Torras
7 Reasons to Run Away takes a critical look at today’s society and puts the values it transmits into question. Cast: Sergi Lopez, Emma Suarez, Lola Dueñas, Alex Brendemuhl, Alain Hernandez, Francesc Orella. (Spain: World Premiere)
Body At Brighton Rock
D: Roxanne Benjamin
An inexperienced park employee discovers a body on a remote mountain trail and must stay with it overnight in the wilderness, facing her darkest fears in the process. Cast: Karina Fontes, Casey Adams, Emily Althaus, Brodie Reed, Martin Spanjers, John Getz, Miranda Bailey, Susan Burke, Matt Peters. (World Premiere)
Boyz in the Wood
D: Ninian Doff
When four city-bred schoolboys embark on a traditional Duke of Edinburgh Award camping trip that takes them deep into the Scottish Highlands, they find themselves chased by a deranged masked couple with aims of culling this teenaged “wildlife". Cast: Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, James Cosmo, Kevin Guthrie, Jonathan Aris, Alice Lowe, Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, Lewis Gribben. (UK, US: World Premiere)
Daniel Isn't Real
D: Adam Egypt Mortimer
Troubled Luke suffers a violent family trauma and resurrects his childhood imaginary friend to help him cope. Charismatic and full of manic energy, "Daniel" helps Luke to achieve his dreams, before pushing him into a desperate fight for his own soul. Cast: Patrick Schwarzenegger, Miles Robbins, Sasha Lane, Hannah Marks, Mary Stuart Masterson. (World Premiere)
D: Pollyanna McIntosh
In this visually inventive sequel to The Woman, a feral teenage girl is taken into strict Catholic care and prepared for her First Holy Communion. Cast: Lauryn Canny, Bryan Batt, Nora-Jane Noone, Cooper Andrews, Pollyanna McIntosh. (World Premiere)
Girl On The Third Floor
D: Travis Stevens
Don Koch tries to renovate a rundown house with a sordid history for his growing family, only to learn that the house has other plans. Cast: Phil Brooks, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Sarah Brooks, Elissa Dowling, Karen Woditsch, Travis Delgado, Marshall Bean, Anish Jethmalani, Bishop Stevens, Tonya Kay. (World Premiere)
I See You
D: Adam Randall
Strange occurrences plague a small town detective and his family as he investigates the disappearance of a young boy. Cast: Helen Hunt, Jon Tenney, Judah Lewis, Owen Teague, Libe Barer, Greg Alan Williams, Erika Alexander, Allison King. (UK, US: World Premiere)
D: Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman
After a popular teen has sex for the first time, she finds herself pregnant — with an alien. With no one to turn to but her nerdy ex-best-friend, she’ll have to risk her neck — and social status — to fight the freaky extraterrestrial threat. Cast: Mary Nepi, Gabrielle Elyse, Austin Fryberger, JJ Nolan, Nick Gomez, Ashley Argota, Amy Arburn, Amy Landecker, Rich Fulcher. (World Premiere)
Tales from the Lodge
D: Abigail Blackmore
When a group of old friends spend the night telling stories of murders, ghosts, zombies and possessions they soon become aware of another tale unfolding around them. And this one is real. Cast: Mackenzie Crook, Dustin Demri-Burns, Laura Fraser, Sophie Thompson, Johnny Vegas, Kelly Wenham. (UK: World Premiere)
D: Richard Bates, Jr.
Two generations collide with terrifying results in this home invasion horror film that is also a darkly comedic critique of the bizarre cultural and political climates in the United States. Cast: Amanda Crew, Robert Patrick, Kim Delaney, Hayley Marie-Norman, Ray Wise, Johnny Pemberton, Keisha Castle-Hughes, AnnaLynne McCord, Nelson Franklin, Ronnie Gene-Blevins. (World Premiere)
Attending SXSW this year? See anything up there you like? Sound off below, and stay tuned for more SXSW 2019 coverage in the very near future.