The SXSW International Film Festival always brings great horror films, both feature-length and short. SXSW 2022’s horror offerings were no different, offering up a diverse slate of stories and subgenres that left our team floored. From the A24 films people had been waiting for to indies, we hope to get releases, here is our SXSW 2022 horror round-up.
Writer-Director: Ti West
Stars: Jenna Ortega, Mia Goth, Brittany Snow, Kid Cudi, Martin Henderson, Owen Campbell
In X, director-writer Ti West transports audiences back to 1979. Embodying the aesthetics of 70s slashers with a sex-filled story, West tells a story of youth, age, and the anger that comes from growing old and losing who you thought you were. In X, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives.
Writer-Director: Vanessa Winter and Joseph Winter
Stars: Joseph Winter and Melanie Stone
Acquired by Shudder ahead of its premiere for SXSW ‘s horror focussed Midnighters, Deadstream is a simple found footage film that nails live streaming and the personality of one horrible streaming. In it, A washed-up internet personality tries to win back his followers after a public controversy left him disgraced and demonetized. How? Well, he live streams himself spending one night alone in an abandoned haunted house. But when he accidentally pisses off a vengeful spirit, his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for his life as he faces off with the sinister spirit of the house and her own powerful following.
Director: Nyla Innuksuk
Writer: Nyla Innuksuk and Ryan Cavan
Stars: Tasiana Shirley, Alexis Wolfe, Chelsea Prusky, Frankie Vincent-Wolfe, Nalajoss Ellsworth
Coming-of-age and horror really go hand-in-hand, especially when it comes to righting an invading force of [insert horror/sci-fi monster here]. A blend of Attack the Block and Vampires Vs The Bronx, Slash/Black is filled with heart, comedy, and a whole bunch of fun. Set in Pangnirtung, Nunavut (Pang to the locals) A group of friends is taking advantage of their summer. 24-hours of sunlight, no school, no cool boys (well… except one) Maika and her ragtag friends are busy just being kids. But the usual summer is suddenly not in the cards when they discover an alien invasion threatening Pang.
Exploring friendships and culture, Slash/Black takes a group of teenagers who have been underestimated their whole lives and puts them into a situation where they can showcase their strength and ingenuity. Using makeshift weapons and their horror movie knowledge, they show the aliens you don’t fuck with the girls from Pang.
Writer-Director: Mariama Diallo
Stars: Regina Hall, Zoe Renee, Talia Ryder, Talia Balsam, Amber Gray
Master blends supernatural and social horror to highlight the pervasive racism in academia. The film takes place at an elite New England university built on the site of a Salem-era gallows hill where three women strive to find their place. First, Gail Bishop (Regina Hall) steps into the position of “Master,” a dean of students, and discovers what lies behind the school’s immaculate facade. Second, a first-year student, Jasmine Moore (Zoe Renee), confronts a new home that is cold and unwelcoming. And finally, literature professor Liv Beckman (Amber Gray) faces off against colleagues who question her right to belong. The film navigates the politics and privilege of academia while the characters encounter increasingly terrifying manifestations of the school’s haunted past.
Director: Spenser Cohen
Writer: Anna Halberg and Spenser Cohen
Stars: Sophie Thatcher, Alicia Coppola, Scot Nery
Blink takes sleep paralysis to the next level. A horror short, Blink is about Mary. After being violently pushed from a window, Mary wakes up in the hospital, almost completely paralyzed. Trapped inside the prison of her own body, Mary’s only way to communicate is by blinking her eyes. She tries to warn the nurse that a sinister, inhuman force is trying to kill her. But when strange things begin happening around her, she realizes it may be too late to stop it.
Director: Halina Reijn
Writer: Kristen Roupenian, Sarah Delappe, Chloe Okuno, Joshua Sharp, Aaron Jackson
Stars: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Pete Davidson, Rachel Sennott, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Lee Pace
A coke-filled murder mystery hurricane party as a family mansion goes turns deadly. A horror-comedy that is way more humor than scares, Bodies Bodies Bodies is a blast as you watch the group of 20-somethings (and Greg) turn on each other, release pent up anger and jealousy, and ultimately start pointing fingers at everyone. With a cast that fires on all cylinders, this film is one that we can’t wait for audiences to see.
Director: Bill Posley
Writer: Bill Posley and Jonathan Colomb
Stars: Tunde Laleye, Teon Kelley, Sheaun McKinney, Me’Lisa Sellers, and Tony Todd
Bitch Ass is a straight fun b-horror slasher that is chaotic and fun in a way that works for its subgenre. In 1980, Young Cecil is bullied by kids in the 6th Street gang for being fat, shy, and always playing board games – including being called Bitch Ass. On a gang initiation night, they jump him and leave him for dead. Then in 1999 no one has seen or heard from Bitch Ass since, and he has become an urban legend. Now, a new crop of 6th Street recruits are gearing up for another initiation night. Tasked with robbing a house, but little do they know they’re walking into Bitch Ass’ house, and he has been plotting his revenge by building deadly versions of the childhood games they bullied him for playing. Leaning all the way into b-horror and slasher gore and fun, Bitch Ass is great time.
SXSW 2022’s horror offerings had a lot to offer this year, spanning the genre and focus. While these were the ones that resonated with us, there are many more that you should dive into yourself when they get distribution. Did we miss some of your favorites? Let us know on social media: @butwhythopc