Image: Chronicles of a Wandering Saint, VIFF 2023
This is where the wild ones come out to play
Fittingly, this menagerie of Altered States oddities boasts no less than four titles that hinge on uncanny transfigurations. Tempering the series’ more feral fare is a complement of soulful sci-fi offerings that employ Morocco, Hungary, and Czechia as departure points for their thoughtful explorations of speculative realms. Throw some teen angst, playful sacrilege, and righteous wrath into the mix, and it all makes for a delirious cocktail best served up in a dark room with strangers.
In a world where mysterious mutations are gradually evolving humans into animal hybrids in an unpredictable and frightening way, a father tries to protect his 16-year-old son who is starting to acquire beastly characteristics.
Winner of Cannes Critics' Week Grand Prix, Tiger Stripes is a coming-of-age body horror film set in a Malaysian girls' school. 12-year-old Zaffan’s body starts to change before everyone else’s, and she becomes convinced she's turning into a monster.
Central Europe, 2041. Citizens have the right to be revived from unnatural deaths. When a scientist is murdered and revived through an unstable, outdated backup detective Em Trochinowska pursues her prime suspect, a hacker tied to a Luddite terror cell.
2123: When Stefan's wife consents to a macabre metamorphosis before her appointed time, he races across a devastated landscape to save her. This richly detailed rotoscoped dystopia is a spectacle to behold, and a warning to be heeded.
Outcast teen hockey goalie Heather has it rough: she's a closeted lesbian with an alcoholic mum and something far worse than the usual menstrual cycle. This full-blooded creature feature weds the classic werewolf mythos with its own sapphic sensibility.
Meet Sasha, the world’s most compassionate young vampire. Her family is at their wits' end with her refusal to embrace their lethal traditions and threaten to cut her off -- until she meets a brooding boy hoping to end his life, and strikes a unique deal.
An unexpected meteorological phenomenon means that a heavily pregnant young Moroccan woman, Itto, is forced to flee from her comfortable home alone and brave an increasingly otherworldly and apocalyptic milieu. A singular, hard-to-classify debut feature.
1971. Sam and Clara are stuck at their elite boarding school for the Christmas holidays, along with a teacher, her boyfriend, and, soon enough, a murderous gang of occult killers, led by Mena Massoud (Aladdin), who mean to call up a long-dormant demon...
Boasting absurdist humour and one of the most audacious storytelling gambits you'll see on screen this year, this is the story of Rita, a devout senior with an ill-advised scheme to stage a miracle and thus enshrine her reputation as a living saint.
On the brink of destitution, a gamekeeper on a remote ranch in southern Spain takes a bribe from a hunting party. When (inevitably) this leads to tragedy, Eladio's world falls apart, as unnatural forces extract a terrible price.