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What to Watch at the 2022 Festival: Films for Fans of the Spooky and Supernatural

22/01/2022

-- By Katie Small

From the Festival that brought you some of the most iconic and deeply disturbing horror flicks of the last several decades - including The Blair Witch Project, Hereditary, Halloween, and Saw - the 2022 Sundance Film Festival boasts yet another impressive lineup of deeply imaginative films that dwell in the terrifying and supernatural.

Whether you're a fan of gripping psychological thrillers or supernatural folk horror, this year's selections are sure to keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat. But if you abhor gore, fear not, as there are plenty of palatable films for the squeamish; elements of magical realism and the paranormal abound.

The following list breaks the lineup down into supernatural dramas, psychological thrillers, and films that include a bit of both. Themes of social isolation, motherhood, family dynamics, romance, and racism dominate.

Supernatural Dramas

A still from Nanny by Nikyatu Jusu, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited. Nanny (U.S. Dramatic) - Aisha is an undocumented Senegalese immigrant in pursuit of the American dream - her specific version of which involves bringing her young son, whom she was forced to leave behind in Senegal, to join her in New York City. She finds work as a nanny for a wealthy Manhattan family, but must carefully navigate the tense atmosphere between the workaholic mother and the disillusioned father. Meanwhile, she is haunted by a supernatural entity derived from West African folklore, a presence that invades both her dreams and reality.

The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future (World Dramatic) - Magical realism propels the melodrama in the Spanish language film The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future; the mysterious resurrection of her long-dead mother forces Cecilia to return home to her family's dairy farm in southern Chile. Once there, she rendezvous with magical farm animals, eschews a connection with her mother, struggles to find common ground with her estranged brother and father, and grapples with the budding transgender identity of her eldest child.

Supernatural Horror

Regina Hall appears in Master by Mariama Diallo, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited. Master (U.S. Dramatic) - At an elite New England university, the dean of students (Regina Hall), a first-year student (Zoe Renee), and a literature professor (Amber Gray) navigate politics and privilege as they encounter increasingly terrifying manifestations of their school's haunted and racist past. An eye-opening study of power and privilege, Master marks writer-director Mariama Diallo's first feature and blends horror, drama, psychological thriller, and social critique. Sundance programmer John Nein says, What begins as a search for belonging becomes a chilling struggle for survival, and Diallo shrewdly reframes a basic horror trope - escaping an evil force - asking what escape is possible for communities of color confronting a racial terror that is everywhere.

You Won't Be Alone (World Dramatic) - Set in 19th-century Macedonia, folk horror film You Won't Be Alone is a dark fable propelled by the supernatural. After a young girl is transformed into a witch by an ancient, shape-shifting spirit, she is left to roam the woods in a feral state. When she inadvertently kills a villager, she becomes a shape-shifter herself, assuming the body of her victim. The young witch continues to inhabit different people (played by multiple actors), living among the villagers for years, observing and mimicking their behavior until the ancient spirit who cursed her returns.

Resurrection (Premieres) - Taking an unsettling look at the consequences of emotional manipulation and codependent relationships, Resurrection mixes magical realism and horror to unnerving effect. After a phantom from her past returns to haunt her, Margaret finds herself being pushed to extreme limits that test her kindness and ability to be a good mother - a key facet of her personal identity, and one that she has carefully cultivated while juggling single parenthood and building a successful career. Rebecca Hall's magnetic lead performance makes this surreal psychological thriller unforgettable.

Hatching (Midnight) - Tween gymnast Tinja spends most of her time fighting with her obnoxious little brother and trying to please her image-obsessed mother, who showcases their family's existence on her popular blog Lovely Everyday Life as a bright and cheery vision of suburban perfection. After Tinja discovers a dying bird in the woods, she brings its strange egg home and nurtures it until it hatches. According to Sundance programmer Heidi Zwicker, The creature that emerges, christened Alli, becomes Tinja's closest friend, surrogate child, and living nightmare in this tremendously twisted coming-of-age body horror film.

Horror and Psychological Thrillers

Maika Monroe appears in Watcher by Chloe Okuno, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institu
LINK: https://www.sundance.org/blogs/what-to-watch-at-the-2022-festival-film...
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