by Patrick Bromley
Longtime readers of F This Movie! know that I have been covering the Chicago Critics Film Festival for the last four years, supporting and singing its praises since even before I was a member of the organization. It is my favorite week of movies every year, and has introduced me to some of my favorites in recent memory: I Declare War, They Came Together, The One I Love, Slow West, The New Girlfriend...the list goes on. One of the things I love about the festival is that there are horror movies programmed every year: in 2013, the fest showed All the Boys Love Mandy Lane when it was still impossible to see (even though I didn't love the movie, I appreciated the chance to see it after years of hearing about it). In 2014, they screened both Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead and Housebound, two of my favorite horror movies of that year, plus Bobcat Goldthwait's Willow Creek. Last year's fest offered the Chicago premiere of Goodnight Mommy, and while I wasn't a big fan it's impossible to deny that it wound up being one of the most talked about horror films of 2015 and one of the few breakout arthouse horrors not called It Follows.
The fourth annual CCFF kicks off this Friday, May 20, at Chicago's Music Box Theatre, with another promising lineup that includes David Gordon Green's Goat, the new John Michael McDonagh cop comedy War on Everyone, Taika Waititi's new movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the Chicago-shot Operator and my most anticipated movie of the fest, Ti West's In a Valley of Violence, plus many more. As a horror nerd, though, I take great satisfaction in just how many horror and horror-adjacent titles make up this year's program. Here are some of the highlights:
The Blackcoat's Daughter (dir. Osgood Perkins)
Another Evil (dir. Carson Mell)
Demon (dir. Marcin Wrona)
American Fable (dir.
But these are just the horror films I was able to see in time for the fest! I'm also excited to see Trash Fire, the latest effort from Richard Bates Jr. (screens 5/20 at 11:59 p.m.; 5/25 at 10 p.m.). I'm a fan of Bates and have heard good things about the movie from my friend Heather Wixson, but I'd want to see the movie no matter what if only because it comes from Travis Stevens' Snowfort Pictures, and his has become one of the most trustworthy names in horror. Also screening is the Iranian horror film Under the Shadow from first-time writer/director Babak Anvari. It screens 5/22 at 4:15 p.m.
You can see the full festival lineup here and purchase tickets here.