If you’re in NYC this month…
At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, running from 4.20-5.1.2011, two films to watch are Rabies, the first horror film out of Israel, and from Dutch director Dick Maas, Saint.
A psychotic serial killer on the loose in the woods crosses paths with a group of unsuspecting teenagers, and soon people are dying one by one. It’s a popular horror premise, but mobilized in a refreshingly novel iteration by first-time filmmakers Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado. Among a brother and sister with a dark secret, a kindly forest ranger and his old dog, and four tennis players waylaid by a pair of unhinged local cops, misunderstandings and fear pull Rabies‘ protagonists inexorably deeper into the infectious, indiscriminate violence foreshadowed in the film’s title.
Subverting genre conventions with a smart script and plenty of unexpected scares, Rabies‘ careful escalation draws viewers and protagonists alike convincingly into the film’s snowballing cycles of violence and fear, grounding its grisly content and high-concept premise in an uncommonly believable world rarely seen within the horror formula. Rabies is a surprising debut starring some of Israel’s biggest young actors, and worthy of its mantle as Israel’s first-ever horror film. courtesy of Cara Cusumano
An original and delightfully gruesome slasher film, Saint reimagines jolly old Saint Nick as a bloodthirsty bishop fulfilling a grisly prophecy every 32 years under the Christmas full moon. The film’s titular saint was in fact a murderous medieval marauder, ultimately slain by the villagers he tormented, only to swear a ghostly revenge on their descendents every December 5—the anniversary of his death. Centuries later, the story has settled comfortably into innocuous folklore, until a bloody encounter with the ghoul himself forces local teen Frank to believe in Santa all over again. Teaming up with a fellow believer, discharged conspiracy-theorist cop Goert, it will be up to Frank to save the city of Amsterdam in an all-out bloody battle against the wrathful “Sinterklaas” and his minions.
Dick Maas, the director of classic Dutch horror films The Lift and Amsterdamned, delivers a fun chiller full of creative yuletide horror played out across the decked halls (and roofs) of snowy Amsterdam—justly earning Saint‘s spectacle of thrills, chills, and kills the title of highest grossing Dutch film of the year. courtesy of Cara Cusumano
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