"The Guest," the latest effort from horror helmer Adam Wingard; "Killers," a Web-based serial-killer thriller from Indonesia's Mo Brothers; and "What We Do in the Shadows," a mock-doc collaboration between New Zealand-based directors Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords) are among the eight oddball titles set to make their world premieres in Park City at Midnight at the 30th annual Sundance Film Festival.
Having noted that the dramatic competition lineups (unveiled Wednesday) contained a number of films with comedic and horror-thriller elements, festival director John Cooper pointed out that the distinctions between competitive and non-competitive titles were blurring more than ever.
Other pics in the Midnight mix include "The Babadook," an Australian horror film directed by Jennifer Kent; "Cooties," Jonathan Millott and Cary Murnion's thriller about a viral outbreak at an elementary school, starring Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill; "Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead," Tommy Wirkola's sequel to 2009′s Nazi-zombie pic "Dead Snow"; "The Signal," a Laurence Fishburne starrer from helmer William Eubank; and "Under the Electric Sky (EDC 2013)," a 3D documentary about Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas.
PHOTOS: 2014 Sundance Film Festival Lineup: Park City at Midnight
The festival, which runs Jan. 16-26 in Park City, Utah, also announced films selected for New Frontier, Spotlight and, for the first time, Sundance Kids, a section devoted to children's programming. The two tot-friendly titles slated there are "Ernest and Celestine," a French-language toon from directors Benjamin Renner, Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar, and "Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang," a Spanish live-action kidpic from director Oskar Santos.
Artist Doug Aitken's "The Source (Evolving)," a series of filmed conversations about creativity in the 21st century, will have its U.S. premiere as the centerpiece of the festival's New Frontier section devoted to independent/experimental art. The expanded sidebar will feature 13 installations housed in a new 5,000-square-foot location at the Gateway in Park City, adjacent to Main Street, as well as five films.
The festival's Spotlight slate, a best-of-fests compilation of "cinema we love," is dominated by selections from Cannes ("Blue Ruin," "The Lunchbox," "Only Lovers Left Alive," "Stranger by the Lake") and Toronto ("The Double," "Ida," "R100"). Steven Knight's "Locke," starring Tom Hardy, will make its North American debut in Park City after having premiered at Venice earlier this year.
Sundance will announce its Premieres and Documentary Premieres titles on Monday.
PARK CITY AT MIDNIGHT
The eight world premieres in this section are from the U.S. unless otherwise specified.
"The Babadook" (Australia) -- Directed and written by Jennifer Kent. A single mother, reeling from her husband's violent death, tries to cope with her son's fear of a monster in the house. Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Ben Winspear.
"Cooties" -- Directed by Jonathan Millott and Cary Murnion. Written by Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan. A mysterious virus attacks an elementary school, turning the students into savages. Cast: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Whannell, Nasim Pedrad.
"Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead" (Norway) -- Directed by Tommy Wirkola. Written by Wirkola, Stig Frode Henriksen and Vegar Hoel. The gruesome Nazi Zombies are back to finish their mission in this "Dead Snow" sequel, but their enemies won't go down without a fight. Cast: Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Martin Starr, Orjan Gamst, Monica Haas, Jocelyn DeBoer.
"The Guest" -- Directed by Adam Wingard. Written by Simon Barrett. A soldier on leave befriends the family of a fallen comrade, but it's revealed that he's not who he says he is. Cast: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Lance Reddick, Chase Williamson, Brendan Meyer.
"Killers" (Japan-Indonesia) -- Directed by the Mo Brothers. Written by Timo Tjahjanto and Takuji Ushiyama. Two serial killers post their violent crimes online in a battle for notoriety, leading to an inevitable faceoff. Cast: Kazuki Kitamura, Oka Antara, Rin Takanashi, Luna Maya, Ray Sahetapy.
"The Signal" -- Directed by William Eubank. Written by William Eubank, Carlyle Eubank and David Frigerio. Three college students track a computer hacker, then disappear under mysterious circumstances. Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp.
"Under the Electric Sky (EDC 2013)" -- Directed by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz. A 3D account of Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, the largest music festival in the U.S.
Sundance Announces Midnight, New Frontier, Spotlight Films
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