When we think of horror-geared festivals, the prestigious and glamorous Cannes is not usually at the top of the list. Its focus is certainly more traditional arthouse cinema, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get scary. In the past few years alone, films like IT FOLLOWS and RAW have premiered at the Critic’s Week, and at a festival that celebrates craft and auteur voices, its genre selections are fascinating. Here are a few spooky films from the lineup that promise to continue the tradition:
TERRIFYING TV (TWIN PEAKS and TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL)
David Lynch is no stranger to Cannes, and neither is Jane Campion, who took home the top prize for THE PIANO several years ago. Now, she revitalizes her stunning miniseries TOP OF THE LAKE for its second season with Elisabeth Moss coming back to fight more monstrous crimes. Premiering alongside Lynch’s long-overdue reboot of his masterpiece TWIN PEAKS, Campion’s series explores the darkest sides of small town life with oozy atmosphere and astonishing performances. It’s exciting to see this festival honoring other forms of visual storytelling aside from narrative film.
THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Nicole Kidman’s second of three creepy entries in the fest (she also appears in TOP OF THE LAKE and THE BEGUILED), this film marks Yorgos Lanthimos’s new vision of insanity. DOGTOOTH and THE LOBSTER were freaky enough, but this film is actually classified as “horror.” It involves a dysfunctional family disrupted by a visit from a surgeon. Produced by A24, the company behind THE WITCH and GREEN ROOM, this might prove to be one of 2017’s best examples of the genre.
MUGEN NON JUNIN (BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL)
Takasi Miike’s 100th film sounds like a continuation of his best work: a revenge thriller about an immortal samurai. From the man who brought us such vivid nightmares as ICHI THE KILLER and AUDITION, among 97 others, this promises to be a visual feast or madness. It premieres out of competition, but hopefully the prestigious start means it’ll come stateside soon.
YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE
It’s a monstrous tragedy that Tilda Swinton didn’t win an Oscar for her turn in Lynne Ramsey’s phenomenal WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. Now Ramsey commands Joaquin Pheonix in a thriller about a man trying to destroy a sex trafficking ring. Based on the short story by Jonathan Ames, this film sounds like an ultra-tense and seedy plunge into neo-noir. If KEVIN is any indication, it’ll be harrowing.
UNDER THE SILVER LAKE
Another neo-noir, the director of IT FOLLOWS returns with his third feature. Starring Andrew Garfield and Riley Keogh, this mystery hasn’t revealed any of its plot details, but it sounds promising. Disasterpiece returned to compose the music, so it’ll be worth checking out for that alone.
Sofia Coppola is a troublesome filmmaker – her style always overreaches her substance – but a psychological thriller about Nicole Kidman torturing Colin Farrell in the Civil War-era South sounds pretty intriguing. I’ll wait for the reviews myself, but it’s always fun when critically acclaimed directors try their hand at horror.
FUNNY GAMES, CACHE and THE WHITE RIBBON aren’t the easiest films to watch, but there’s no denying that they are terrifying cinematic experiences. Now, five years after his astonishing AMOUR gutted everyone at Cannes, Michael Haneke returns to his old stomping grounds to bring his newest film. This family drama set against the European refugee crisis also stars Isabelle Huppert, known goddess, and promises to be tense and bleak.
The festival starts on May 17th. Comment below and let us know if we missed any genre goodies from this year’s lineup!