Toronto After Dark Film Festival

5 under the radar films at the Toronto After Dark Festival

The reigning king of genre fests is back as the 7th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival gets under way tonight. Starting Thursday October18, this year there are nine days of insanity at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, which finally has a liquor license! Now that After Dark attendees can double fist tall cans of Big Wheel, I expect they'll be twice as rowdy as the Midnight Madness crowd.

Don't forget, Saturday October 20th is the Toronto Zombie Walk, so after you've eaten your fill of brains head straight to [REC] 3: Genesis and stay for Cockneys vs Zombies to take advantage of the discounts for those made up as zombies.

You've likely already seen our our top picks from the fest, including A Fantastic Fear of Everything featuring Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Wrong by Quentin Dupieux (Rubber), and Sushi Girl featuring Tony Todd (Candyman) / James Duval (Donnie Darko) / Mark Hamill (Star Wars). But what about some other gems that sit below the radar? Try these on for size.

Grabbers (Toronto Premiere)
A refreshingly Irish take on the classic creature feature, Grabbers takes place in a small Irish village where tentacled creatures attack, and getting drunk is the only way to defend against them. This hilariously original idea was a fan fave at Sundance, and is sure to be a hit with "boozethusiasts" like myself.

Crave (Toronto Premiere)
This edgy must-see thriller, with just a pinch of Fight Club, presents a mentally unstable crime scene photographer spiralling into the mouth of madness on the mean streets of Detroit. Is he simply imagining violent revenge fantasies, or is he committing them? Also featuring a great supporting cast including Edward Furlong (Terminator 2) and Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy).

In Their Skin (Toronto Premiere)
The home invasion genre can be a bit weak sometimes, but this film features the welcome twist that the invaders are not just there to rob the family that they are terrorizing, they want to become them. If you're hoping for an uncomfortably intense psychological thriller, this is it. If you just want to stare at Selma Blair (Hellboy) for 96 minutes, hell I can't blame ya, that works too. I would watch a BBC home dentistry video if it had her in it.

Cockneys vs. Zombies (Canadian Premiere)
Optimistically described as "one part Shaun of the Dead, one part Snatch," this guilty pleasure has a bunch of bank robbing gangsters pinned down in the middle of a zombie outbreak. When I saw an old man with a walker escaping a zombie at a snails pace in the trailer, I was sold. From screenwriter James Moran (Doctor Who) and featuring legendary british gangster Alan Ford (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels). Don't miss your chance to see this flick while dressed as, or at least surrounded by zombies!

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (Canadian Premiere)
Did I sneak this pick in because I'm an unabashed Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD) fan, or am I feeding the comment trolls? Both! The latest in the ultra-violent Universal Soldier franchise, this time a man named John (Scott Adkins) awakens from a coma to discover his wife and daughter were slaughtered, so he vows to kill the man he believes to be responsible: Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme). To complicate things, Deveraux and surviving UniSol Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) are preparing to battle anarchy and build a new order ruled by UniSols without government oversight. The best action film about genetically enhanced warriors you'll see all year!

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs from October 18 - 26 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Tickets and passes can be purchased online or at the theatre. Regular single ticket $14 or double feature tickets for $24. All Access pass $168 or Late Night Access pass for $84.

Still from Cockneys vs Zombies.

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