Top 5 Films to see at Toronto After Dark Film Festival
Toronto's spookiest, goriest and bloodiest film festival, the Toronto After Dark Film Festival begins this Thursday, as it 'occupies' the Toronto Underground Cinema for a week of exciting premieres for horror fans and alternative cinema lovers.
Things are a bit different the sixth year of Toronto After Dark. Its had a change of venue (from the Bloor Cinema) and also a change of season. In its first few years, the festival ran during the fall, at the tail end of October just before Halloween. But, because it had some difficulty running against other big-name festivals on at the same time (think Planet in Focus, Reel Asian, etc), After Dark moved to August for 2009 and 2010. While it definitely made for nicer rush lines, it just didn't have that same spooky feel. Luckily, the festival is as successful as ever and has made the move back to October, hopefully for good.
To tide you over and help those who are undecided, here are my top 5 films to see this year.
EXIT HUMANITY / FRIDAY OCTOBER 21ST / TORONTO UNDERGROUND CINEMA / 7PM
"You can't kill a man whose already dead." When Edward Young emerges from the American Civil War, having lost his friends and family, he discovers that this and many other truths he once believed in, are false. An epidemic of the walking dead has taken over his country and he must now fight men from both sides of the war, newly dead and lusting for his brains rather than revenge. Starring newcomer Mark Gibson (who is also found in the Toronto After Dark opening night film Monster Brawl), horror staple Bill Moseley, Pontypool star Stephen McHattie and narration by the one and only, Brian Cox. A homegrown story about how one handles and processes living through sheer horror, whether the violence was done by human or supernatural hands. Filmmaker John Geddes and several cast members will be in attendance after the film for a question and answer period.
LOVE / SUNDAY OCTOBER 23 / TORONTO UNDERGROUND CINEMA / 4:15PM
Stories about astronauts stuck in space have been popular for over forty years, you may recall a similar plot to be found in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris and recently, Moon. There's something interesting about mankind developing sophisticated technology to push humanity past the boundaries of Earth in an attempt to understand space, only to find one unable to return. When Lee Miller finds himself stranded on the International Space Station after an apocalyptic event occurs on Earth, he's left to his own devices to decide what is left to do with his life. Upon the discovery of a mysterious journal, Lee begins a journey that may help him unlock certain truths in the universe, but is that worth anything if he can't change the past? Featuring a heavy soundtrack by the band Angels & Airwaves, (of which you get a sample if you watch the trailer) Love is certainly a welcome oddball at the festival this year, one I encourage you to see. Director William Eubank will be at the screening for a question and answer period after the film.
A LONELY PLACE TO DIE / MONDAY OCTOBER 24TH / TORONTO UNDERGROUND CINEMA / 9:45PM
A group of mountain climbers in the Scottish Highlands encounter more than they bargained for when they stumble upon a kidnapping plot and discover that sometimes it's not the mountain that'll kill you, it's the people. A Lonely Place to Die pits the poor mountaineers against a cold team of kidnappers who only care about their payday and nothing for the casualties. As they attempt to save the young hostage and escape to civilization, it becomes quite clear that they are now fighting for their own survival too. Starring Melissa George, formerly of Grey's Anatomy and Eammon Walker from Oz, the film is seriously scary survival horror by the director of black comedy Doghouse, about a divorced man on the run from female man-eating-cannibals. Writer and editor Will Gilbey will be at the screening for a question and answer period.
THE DIVIDE / TUESDAY OCTOBER 25TH / TORONTO UNDERGROUND CINEMA / 7PM
I may have a thing for apocalyptic cinema, especially the kind that highlights the psychological issues that people undergo when locked into a small room together after a nuclear attack. That being said, The Divide feeds my sick obsessions perfectly, offering up a group of survivors locked in a battle with themselves, as they await rescue after an attack. Fear, paranoia, claustrophobia and madness take their turn within the group, as a rescue becomes more unlikely and all they can do is wait and see. This highly anticipated film is by director Xavier Gens who made the grotesque Frontière a few years ago. Gens and his lead actors, Michael Biehn, Michael Eklund and Milo Ventimiglia will be in attendance after the film for a question and answer period.
VS / WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 26TH / TORONTO UNDERGROUND CINEMA / 9:45PM
Described as Kick-Ass meets Saw, VS combines the moral and ethical concerns of X-Men with cynicism of The Watchmen. In laymans terms, VS follows a group of young superheroes, all whom are 'accidents' by birth and have been subsequently struggling with their abilities and their identities. Stripped of their powers by an evil arch-nemesis, the team is forced to save innocent bystanders who have been targeted and rigged with explosive devices, but they must do so using only their human capabilities. VS stars Lucas Till who played Havok in X-Men: First Class and was one of the only good thing in that entire movie as well as the talented James Remar who has starred in everything from Sex and the City, to Psycho, to Battlestar Galactica and Rayden in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. This screening is the world premiere of the film and director/actor Jason Trost will be in attendance for a question and answer period.
Other highlights of the festival include the hit that drove Sundance audiences crazy, The Woman, about a family that attempts to 'domesticate' a wild-woman, which plays on the last day of the festival just before the Closing Gala The Innkeepers about a haunted hotel. The yearly and oft-photographed Zombie Appreciation Night is Saturday October 21 and will be celebrated with not one but TWO zombie-related features, the zombie buddy comedy Deadheads and the WWII zombie action thriller War of the Dead. Also, every evening from Oct 21-26, the Tequila Bookworm is host to Pub After Dark, a chance to see your favourite writer, director or zombie-costumer live and in person!
The Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs from October 20-27 at the Toronto Underground Cinema. Regular screenings are $13 while the opening and closing night films are $15, tickets can be purchased in advance online, at the TO Tix booth and by phone through Ticketweb. (1-888-222-6608) Same-day tickets will be held for purchase at the Toronto Underground Cinema 2 hours before showtime.
Still from Exit Humanity