I was out of town last weekend when I saw the press release for IFC’s upcoming slate of ‘Midnight’ movies’ and got excited to the point that I was sad I’d have to wait a few more days to spread the word in this here post. I’ll get to why in a minute.
Firstly, if you’re unfamiliar, the Independent Film Channel opened an On-Demand portal a few months ago, debuting films into theaters and homes at the same time. In the beginning most of the titles were, for obvious reasons, Indie dramas. This year, however, they’re branching head first into the orbit of our beloved genre with their Midnight titles, of which they have 30 lined up for 2009. A few will be theatrical pushes, the majority will be available via On-Demand on most cable providers. I’ll break out the heavy title boasting full slate from April through September after this jump, but in the mean time I want to talk about THE CHASER. It is not a horror film, but I place a patent pending HND seal of approval upon it all the same.
Not only is THE CHASER the debut of first time writer/director Hong-jin Na, but it is also my favorite Korean film since 2003’s MEMORIES OF MURDER. Yes, better than THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD. Better than THE HOST. Better than even OLDBOY. I picked up a copy of it when I was in Seoul and wish I’d grabbed six more to give away to friends. I almost don’t want to say word one as to what it is about, but I suppose I’ll simplify how unconventional of a thriller it is by describing it as being about a pimp who gets caught up in the web of a serial killer who has been hiring out and killing off his girls.
It is a phenomenal film. Please go check it out. IFC has it for a few bucks, you won’t regret it.
This Spring/Summer, IFC Films will be releasing two highly anticipated horror films via its IFC in Theaters platform which brings acclaimed independent movies to on demand viewers in more than 50 million homes across the country the same week they premiere as an exclusive engagement in New York and/or Los Angeles. The films are:
APRIL IFC FESTIVAL DIRECT ON-DEMAND TITLES — DIRECT FROM THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL
Each month IFC Films offers two to four new genre titles via its IFC Festival Direct on-demand service. These films are available nationwide for 90 days on most major cable systems representing more than 30 million households and can be found in a special “IFC In Theaters” “IFC Festival Direct” or “IFC Midnight” branded section within each cable company’s on- demand platform. The dynamic April lineup includes two critically acclaimed films direct from the 2008 Cannes Film Festival: THE CHASER and FRONTIER OF DAWN.
THE CHASER, directed by Na Hong-Jin, won seven 2008 Korean Film Awards including Best Picture, Director, Actor and Screenplay and was a massive box office hit in South Korea. It premiered at Cannes in the Official Selection and was quickly snapped up for an American remake by the producers of THE DEPARTED and Warner Brothers. An edge-of-your-seat crime thriller, the film follows a pimp who sets out to find out what’s happened to his missing call girls. The film takes the trappings of the serial killer movie and turns them upside down for one of the more
unforgettable films of the genre.
Also from Cannes is FRONTIER OF DAWN. Directed by the acclaimed French auteur Phillipe Garrel (REGULAR LOVERS), the film stars Louis Garrel and Laura Smet in a tempestuous tale of amour fou. FRONTIER OF DAWN comes to IFC Festival Direct following its limited theatrical run during the 2009 BAMcinematek’s Focus on IFC Films series where it received rave critical notices (http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/03/06/movies/06dawn.html).
Rounding out the April lineup are A L’AVENTURE, a no-holds-barred sexy and erotic drama from one of Europe’s most controversial filmmakers, Jean-Claude Brisseau, and HUSH, a horror-thriller directed by the emerging British filmmaker Mark Tonderai and starring sexy newcomers Will Ash and Christine Bottomley in the story of a deranged kidnapping truck-driver with terrifying plans for his human cargo.
COMPLETE APRIL LINEUP:
THE CHASER – April 8th through July 7th
HUSH – April 8th through July 7th
FRONTIER OF DAWN – April 22nd through July 21st
A L’AVENTURE – April 15th through July 14th
MAY IFC FESTIVAL DIRECT ON-DEMAND TITLES — FEATURING SUPERNATURAL THRILLER DARK MIRROR
The May IFC Festival Direct Midnight lineup features Pablo Proenza’s critically-acclaimed supernatural psychological thriller DARK MIRROR.The film stars Lisa Vidal in the story of a photographer who moves her family into a home filled with mirrors which seem to reflect a different reality. Also in May is CADAVER, a portentous mix of claustrophobic menace and old-fashioned gore from South Korean filmmaker Derek Son. The film centers on a group of medical students who embark upon their first autopsy in an apparently cursed medical department. CADAVER premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2008.
COMPLETE MAY LINEUP:
DARK MIRROR – May 6th through August 4th
CADAVER – May 20th through August 18th
JUNE IFC FESTIVAL DIRECT ON-DEMAND TITLES — ACCLAIMED TRIBECA FILM FEAR ME NOT
The June IFC Festival Direct Midnight lineup features the acclaimed psychological thriller FEAR ME NOT from the award-winning Danish director Kristian Levring. In this intensely chilling film, a run-down middle-aged workaholic (Ulrich Thomsen) enrolls in a clinical trial for a new antidepressant without telling his family. When the trial is abandoned because of dangerous side effects, he continues to take the medication, triggering a hellish descent into madness. FEAR ME NOT premiered at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival and will also be shown at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival. Also in June is the Spanish arthouse film DIARY OF A NYMPHOMANIAC. The film tells the erotically charged story of a middle-class French girl’s unbridled trysts in hotels, parks, cemeteries, her fall into prostitution, the ins-and-outs of a brothel and her final redemption.
COMPLETE JUNE LINEUP:
FEAR ME NOT – June 10th through September 9th
DIARY OF A NYMPHOMANIAC – June 24th through September 23rd