Kirill’s life is perfect: he’s young, talented, has loving parents, a well-paid job, a beautiful girlfriend. That is, up until one day when he is chosen to serve as a gatekeeper between parallel worlds and is suddenly erased from everyone’s memory. Can Kirill find out who is the mastermind behind the mission and get his life back? Or is the world we live in a “rough draft” that doesn’t really exist?
Horror anthologies might be everywhere these days, but the Korean entry Horror Stories raises the bar with four terrifying stories (and a nail-biting wraparound tale), each one chilling enough to be its own feature. If you thought this was going to be a tame collection of teen-friendly “ghost girl” stories – think again. Horror Stories goes right for the jugular with non-stop splatter, intense shocks and riveting suspense. A high school girl is abducted and forced by a psycho to tell him the scariest tales she knows. "Don't Answer the Door” finds a little brother and sister home alone at night and under siege. "Endless Flight” has a serial killer escaping police custody in the middle of an otherwise empty flight. "Secret Recipe” serves up a wildly macabre fairy tale about two jealous stepsisters who take plastic surgery to nightmarish extremes. "Ambulance on the Death Zone” is a claustrophobic zombie shocker with a paramedic and a mother at a standoff over her possibly infected young daughter. An international genre festival success from Sitges to Fantasia, this is one of the best Korean horror films in years and has been called “one of the scariest Asian horror anthologies of the 21st century”. (horror-movies.ca)
This Swedish homage to Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead (1982) is a bloody, scary tale of demonic possession. A group of naive young people find their carefree weekend in an isolated country house unhinged when one of them accidentally unleashes a mysterious and murderous creature trapped in the basement. As the demon begins to attack the couples, the blood-dredged body count mounts and with it, more creatures out for a taste of human flesh, freshly killed. The dazed young men and women soon mount their own desperate counter-attack, an attack that includes decapitations, dismemberment, spurting blood, flailing axes and the kind of gore one does associate with Swedish cinema!
A hypnotic, erotic and riveting film that transcends any perceived limitations of the science fiction genre, Vanishing Waves is one of the year’s most provocative international films. Lukas (Marius Jampolskis) is a researcher who volunteers for a sensory deprivation experiment attempting to communicate with Aurora (Jurga Jutaite), a young comatose woman. The experiment takes an unexpected twist when the two meet in their mutually altered forms of consciousness. Soon, their psychic meetings turn into a romantic, sexually charged relationship set against the backdrop of surreal dreamscapes created by their collective minds. To protect their newfound bond, Lukas hides his findings from the researchers. But, will his deception doom their relationship?
An intense drama of an adolescent adrift in an uncaring world, BULLET COLLECTOR is the powerful debut of Russian director Alexander Vartanov. A unique and visually striking work, the film examines the traumas of a wide-eyed 14-year-old boy, struggling to cope with a terrible home life dominated by an angry mother and a stepfather who can’t stand the sight of him. His school routine is plagued by brutal attacks from bullies, and his life becomes even more nightmarish after he is sent to a hellish reform school. Losing himself in an elaborate fantasy world where he is loved by a beautiful girlfriend and able to defeat his oppressors, the boy finds the reality of his situation continually shocking him back to a very different life. But is he actually just a timid teen destined for abuse, or will he gain the strength to fight off his attackers? Recalling the world of Antoine Doinel in Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, this unsettling, moody masterwork updates that classic by giving it a distinctly Russian flavor, proving that Vartanov is an international filmmaking talent to watch.
Based on director Gu Su-yeon’s semi-autobiographical novel, HARD ROMANTICKER is a spectacularly violent gangster movie that delivers its story with equal amounts of style and carnage. Dripping James Dean-like cool, bleach blond Gu (Shota Matsuda) is a young, cocky Korean-Japanese hoodlum living in Japan. When someone “accidentally” kills the grandmother of a ruthless rival thug, Gu soon finds himself on the receiving end as he becomes the target for bloody, even deadly, revenge. And it doesn’t help that the police are on his tail as well. What’s a snarly, cigarette-puffing thug to do? With tons of ultra-violence, rampaging youths and nihilistic retribution, HARD ROMANTICKER is a sort of a modern-day A Clockwork Orange — yakuza style!
As much of an anti-Bollywood film as one could imagine, revolutionary filmmaker Q’s Gandu (Hindi slang for asshole) is a deliriously frantic, music-infused look at one poor young man and his dreams of becoming a rap star. Excitable Gandu lives in Kolkata. Poor, he survives by stealing spare change from his mother’s sleazy lover. Gandu’s lives to a rapper, and finds a comrade-in-song with another young man, the Bruce Lee-loving Rickshaw. Together they sing, drink, do drugs, wander the city and collectively dream of success. When Gandu wins big in the lottery all his dreams seem to come true. Or do they? Told in fragmented scenes with pulsating music, the film is surreal, wild, weird, unpredictable, and sexually graphic, Gandu is a startlingly bold and wildly entertaining example of new Indian filmmaking, and which ironically is banned in India.
This surreal erotic thriller is set in a flesh-filled and violence-prone butcher shop. A large, lustful butcher, used to living out his sexual fantasies in the shop, becomes interested in Roxy, his young female apprentice. The girl, documenting everything with a video camera, enthusiastically gets involved with him. But when the butcher is murdered and a police inspector, who looks exactly like the dead butcher, investigates the crime, the story takes on a dreamlike quality. A visually explicit, beguiling tale - think Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, meets Gaspar Noé's Carne by way of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Delicatessen.
As Carpathian legend has it, Oleksa Dovbush was a heroic outlaw with excellent fighting skills and a gift to predict the future. He was left an orphan as a small boy after a local lord murdered Oleksa's mother. After spending his childhood in exile in the mountains, he returned as a grown man to avenge his mother's death. Oleksa gathered followers to begin a crusade against the lord, but destiny made other plans for him.
13th century. Danish spy Lars enters the tribal lands of the Baltic people, where he takes part in religious rites, cruel forays, gets high during the summer solstice, becomes the slave of Curonians and even fights the crusaders. Who really were the last pagans of Europe? It’s a unique trip into the textures of the past and into the unknown lands of Baltic tribes.
A skilled young female agent is tasked with capturing a rogue former agent before she can unleash a biological weapon starting with the wealthy and powerful purveyors of the international sex trade.
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