Now in its third year, the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival seeks to showcase the best in new indie films while embodying the spirit of the city. This year’s festival runs from October 11 to 18, with many screenings taking place at the Nitehawk Cinema.
In addition to several North American and world premieres, BHFF will also be offering quite a few events. There’s “Drinking With The Dread,” a Dread Central-hosted drinking game to coincide with a screening of Return of the Living Dead, a Drunk Education panel discussion featuring Heather Buckley and Anya Stanley, a Miskatonic Institute presentation on made-for-TV horror films by Amanda Reyes, the book launch for Dave Alexander and Michael Gingold’s Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s, a live recording of the Spirits Podcast with Amanda McLoughlin and Julia Schifini, and no fewer than six short film showcases. There’s also the world premiere of ANTRUM: The Deadliest Film Ever Made, an occult horror movie shot in the 1970s whose previous screening attempts have been marred by mysterious deaths, fires and riots.
With all the films screening at BHFF, it can be difficult to choose which ones to see. However, here is a list of five films that should be on everyone’s radar.
Winner of Best First Feature and Best Screenplay at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, this film tackles several current societal issues, from fake online profiles and identity theft to the evolution of the modern sex worker into a cam girl. Directed by Daniel Goldhaber, it was written by former cam girl Isa Mazzei based on her own experiences.
Family (North American Premiere)
Israeli filmmaker Veronica Kedar wrote, directed and stars in this story about a woman who inexplicably murders her entire family. While that’s definitely a heavy plotline, Family doesn’t follow a straightforward structure or adhere to one particular set of genre identifiers, suggesting it will provide a unique cinematic experience.
Holiday (New York Premiere)
Another film that caused a stir at Sundance, Holiday examines the thorny topic of why women often stay with their abusers. It’s not surprising that a movie about this subject would come with a content warning for graphic sexual violence, but it may be a surprise to some that it was written and directed by a woman, in this case Swedish filmmaker Isabella Eklöf.
Level 16 (East Coast Premiere)
In the dystopian world of Level 16, teenage girls are forced to adhere to “The Feminine Virtues.” Canadian director Danishka Esterhazy takes the central conceit of The Handmaid’s Tale and runs headlong into bleak satire. The soundtrack is provided by electronic duo Menalon, who also scored 2016’s The Void, so expect to be thoroughly disturbed.
The Rusalka (North American Premiere; Closing Night Feature)
Writer/director Perry Blackshear is responsible for 2015’s outstanding They Look Like People, a film that isn’t often mentioned as part of the controversial “elevated horror” subgenre, but it probably should be. The Rusalka reunites that film’s cast for a love story intertwined with folk horror.
Leslie Hatton (@popshifter) is a Fannibal, an animal lover, a music maven and a horror movie junkie. She created and managed Popshifter from 2007 – 2017, and also contributes to Biff Bam Pop, Diabolique Magazine, Everything Is Scary, Modern Horrors, Rue Morgue and more.