This year’s Tribeca Film Festival had some great screenings. There were heavyweights such as the Jennifer Lopez documentary Halftime, and there was more understated fare such as the Easter horror movie Family Dinner. But the running theme for Tribeca may have been surprises.
People who do not like genre films can throw around the term “elevated horror” as if it is a new thing all they want, but the fact is arthouse horror has been around for a long time. These movies have been pushing boundaries thematically and artistically while scaring people at the same time. A Wounded Fawn is a great example. The film deals with Greek mythology and sexism while providing some of the most original scares audiences will see all year. It is the type of thing that should be over the top and pretentious – and it is to some extent – but it also works in a way that fans of all horror will love.
There were also movies that had audiences going in with plenty of trepidation. Next Exit had an interesting the interesting setting of a world where it has been proven there is an afterlife and ghosts do exist. It also has the bleak premise of two people who meet each other while on their way to commit suicide. Thanks to some amazing performances from Katie Parker and Rahul Kohli, the end result was one of the best films to come out of the festival.
Nude Tuesday provided a different reason to be worried. Its plot follows a husband and wife who go to a couples retreat to help their marriage. While there they meet a guru with interesting ideas. It is a normal run of the mill plot until you find out the whole thing is spoke in a gibberish language that does not exist. It sounds like a wasted opportunity.
Featuring a cast who credits include What We Do in the Shadows and The Nightingale, there was never a doubt the acting would be good. The whole made up language just sounded like a gimmick, however. As it turns out, the language had little to do with the actual comedy in the film. It is heartwarming, wild, and a buttload of fun.
The effect technology has on society has long been the subject of stories. As the world shrinks, the line between what could happen and what is happening becomes blurrier. Pragma is a short film that looks at how science can help people find the perfect romantic partner. It is a fun watch that uses technological advances to highlight its very human story.
The buzz from festival season tends to be about how movies will do as the year continues. That is the case with this year’s Tribeca, but the big takeaway may be some of its most pleasant surprises. From shocking horror movies to really pleasant surprises, the festival was entertaining.
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