Austrian film festival Slash ½, presented by the minds behind Slash Filmfestival, returns to cinemas after an absence in 2020, and its slate of 11 incredible films is nothing less than mouth-watering. The fest, which runs June 17–20, 2021 at Filmcasino in Vienna, Austria, features the paranoid trappings of Knocking, the topical shocker Bad Hair, the supernatural chiller Kandisha, and much more. Following is official information from Slash ½.
After cancelling last year’s edition due to the pandemic, SLASH 1/2 is making its big comeback in 2021. Extended to four festival days, the mini festival presents international Fantastic Cinema in all its diversity. Sporting more than ten films, the program serves up hearty scenes of blood and pus splattering everywhere (mmhh!) as well as subtle horrors and social critique — after all, it’s not just your stomach that ought to turn but also the wheels in your head.
Festival films include Brandon Cronenberg’s sci-fi thriller POSSESSOR, Tyler Russell’s equally nasty and funny body horror flick CYST, Justin Simien’s ferocious horror satire BAD HAIR, and Bill Benz’s thriller mockumentary THE NOWHERE INN (hosted by FM4).
An integral part of the festival program is once again a cooperation with Crossing Europe Festival Linz.
SLASH 1/2 Film Festival will open in less than a month’s time at Filmcasino Wien. From June 17 through 20, we will present eleven wild, outrageous, suspense-filled highlights from the world of international Fantastic Cinema. Our long-standing partnership with Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz, which announced its lineup yesterday, has been an integral part of our festival. SLASH Festival director Markus Keuschnigg, who curates the Night Sight segment of Crossing Europe, is bringing four titles of the Linz festival to Vienna’s Filmcasino screen for this year’s SLASH 1/2.
With MANDIBULES by chief absurdist Quentin Dupieux and KANDISHA by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, SLASH audiences can look forward to not one but two French productions, and they could not be more different: While Dupieux unleashed a giant fly (“Dominique”! ????) on us in his bizarre comedy, the directing duo of Maury and Bustillo let loose a bloodthirsty, vengeful demon. The visually stunning horror thriller SON by Irish director Ivan Kavanagh and Frida Kempff’s Swedish paranoia thriller KNOCKING are sure to make everyone’s blood curdle.
The entire program of the SLASH ½ Film Festival is available at www.slashfilmfestival.com.
FR 2020 | 77‘ | DCP | OmeU
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: Grégoire Ludig, David Marsais
Bzz bzz bzz goes the trunk of the banged-up Mercedes the two simpletons Manu and Jean-Gab jacked to get a briefcase from A to B. The originator of the sound is a fly the size of a bull terrier. The two friends decide to train the insect, figuring they can make some serious cash. Absurdist extraordinaire Quentin Dupieux is an exceptional talent among European directors, not least because of the ridonkulous concepts he realizes with remarkable casualness. The giant fly, by the way, is operated by Dave Chapman, who brought the droid BB-8 to life in the most recent STAR WARS trilogy.
IE/US/UK 2021 | 98‘ | DCP | eOV
Director: Ivan Kavanagh
Cast: Andi Matichak, Emile Hirsch,…
As a child Laura escaped from the clutches of a cult. Now she fears for her own son’s life. Ever since a mysterious group of people stood in his room one night (and disappeared again), the boy has been suffering from a strange illness. Laura knows that she must face her own inscrutable past to help her son. Irish director Ivan Kavanagh’s SON is a visually stunning horror thriller whose occult foundation interlocks with a gruesome family tragedy and flashes of grisly violence. Underneath, however, beats a delicate, tender, sentimental, woeful heart.
SE 2021 | 80‘ | DCP | OmeU
Director: Frida Kempff
Cast: Cecilia Milocco, Albin Grenholm
Molly needs a fresh start. She wants to leave behind not only the traumatic events of a few months ago but also the subsequent psychiatric treatment. That her new apartment is pretty damn dilapidated doesn’t faze her as much as the knocking she hears at night. Her neighbors don’t seem to hear it, but Molly is increasingly convinced that someone in the apartment above hers needs help. With this paranoiac thriller, Frida Kempff treads in the footsteps of Polanski’s REPULSION and lets her lead Cecilia Milocco kick into high gear.
FR 2020 | 85‘ | DCP | OmeU
Director: Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo
Cast Suzy Bemba, Mathilde La Musse
Summer in the banlieue: Three teenagers roam the run-down blocks of residential high-rises, talking about boys, telling each other horror stories. When one of them is assaulted by her ex-boyfriend, she conjures Kandisha, the Moroccan demoness of vengeance. The next day, the victim’s aggressor is found dead. Then more boys die—and that is when the young women realize that Kandisha has gone rogue and must be stopped. But how? French director duo Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo serve up a juicy variation on the CANDYMAN theme, embedded in an urban youth milieu, populated with wonderful young actors and shrill gore effects.
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sean Bean
Tasya Vos is an elite agent for a shady company: Thanks to a brain implant, she (or rather, her consciousness) slips into other bodies and uses them to do hit jobs. But every kill leaves deep wounds in her psyche, and Tasya is having an increasingly tough time finding back into her own identity. And then she suddenly gets “stuck” in another body—with fatal consequences. Despite the powerful heritage POSSESSOR marks the ultimate emancipation for Brandon Cronenberg from his famous father in the way he presents the themes and the world, staging a radical sci-fi thriller that also manages to hit the zeitgeist as a philosophical nail-biter.
THE NOWHERE INN
Director: Bill Benz
Cast: Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), Carrie Brownstein, Ezra Buzzington, Dakota Johnson
Art imitates life imitates art. This axiom of any metafiction is put through the wringer in Bill Benz’s surreal mockumentary THE NOWHERE INN as we watch the brittle relationship between the very human Annie Clark and her larger-than-life pop persona St. Vincent. A (fictional) documentary crew puts the spotlight on the woman behind the successful musician with a cult following—but her screen aptitude turns out to be limited due to her extreme mediocrity. To save the film, Annie exercises eccentricity and ebullience yet loses herself time and again in the artificial persona and her artificial world.
Director: Tyler Russell
Cast: Eva Habermann, George Hardy, Greg Sestero
Small-town USA, early 1960s: Dr. Guy spends his days tirelessly tinkering with his revolutionary “Get Gone” machine that uses laser technology to rid his patients of cysts, ulcers, and other growths. But its patent is postponed indefinitely when a minor malfunction transforms a malignant cyst into a malevolent blastoma monster that proceeds to make its murderous rounds through the doctor’s office. CYST is an icky, hideous, funny throwback to the golden age of creature features—a feast for enthusiasts of blood-and-boils cinema—with a luminous and telling cast of pulp veterans like George Hardy (TROLL 2) and Greg Sestero (THE ROOM).
Director: Justin Simien
Cast: Zaria Kelley, Corinne Massiah, Elle Lorraine
The year is 1989: Elle is trying to gain a foothold in the L.A.’s entertainment industry. When the television station where she works is revamped as a hip MTV competitor, her new boss recommends changing her afro to a relaxed long hairstyle. But Elle’s extensions develop a homicidal life of their own. BAD HAIR is a ferocious horror satire about the perils of suppressed (cultural) identity and a swoop through the new-jack-fueled African American pop landscape of the late 1980s—replete with cameos from Usher, Kelly Rowland, and an utterly magnificent Vanessa Williams.
Host | Rob Savage | UK 2020 | 57 Min | DCP
The omnipresent Zoom meeting is a lot of things: a necessary evil, a worthy simulation of social interaction, and an utter abomination. For Haley, who meets up with her five best friends online every week due to Covid-induced self-isolation, these calls have also become the campfire to tell stories around—and to scare the bejesus out of the others. What sucks is that this time, the séance has summoned an actual demonic presence. HOST was shot during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, with all the actors doing their own filming, lighting, and special effects. The result is a zeitgeist-y and perfect found-footage horror flick—and one of the year’s scariest, most disturbing movie experiences!
THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It | Michael Chaves | US 2021 | 112 Min | DCP
Who would have thought that James Wan, cocreator of the SAW franchise, would become a luminary of first-rate, big-budget, high-concept horror movies? The neohistorical architecture of his CONJURING series gets another outing with THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, this time helmed by Michael Chaves. Devout demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren fight for the soul of a boy and descend further than ever before into paranormal pandemonium. Beautifully photographed, this horror thriller vibrates mercilessly through our hearts and guts toward white-knuckle territory, becoming the first terrifying big-screen chiller of the year.
For more information, visit https://slashfilmfestival.com/en/.