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While the Sundance Film Festival is often known for delivering some of the more memorable dramas and indie comedies of the next year (or two), this year’s festival is host to a slew of interesting and highly touted horrors and thrillers, including Adam Wingard’s darkly comedic thriller The Guest and the Iranian vampire western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. And while we wait for those and more to get snatched up by studios, we’re super pleased that both the horror comedy Cooties and the dark action flick The Night Comes for Us have both been acquired.
Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s Cooties, which premiered Saturday night, was picked up by Lionsgate after a round of negotiations. The film stars Elijah Wood, whose genre-based production company SpectreVision got the film made in the first place, and was written by Leigh Whannell, who first broke out in Hollywood ten years ago when Saw premiered at the festival, spawning an increasingly inane franchise that Whannell eventually distanced himself from. For once, this looks like a horror that might just stay a standalone.
Wood plays a writer whose failures force him to move back to his hometown and substitute at an elementary school, where he runs into an old schoolmate played by Alison Pill. She would be a potential love interest if she wasn’t already dating another school employee, played with machismo by Rainn Wilson. Of course, it all becomes moot when a virus breaks out among the children, turning them all into rabid cannibals. The staff, which also includes Whannell and Jack McBrayer, is forced to go on the run in search of safety and running jokes. I cannot wait for this.
On the flip side is a film without as much initial intrigue going for it. The Night Comes for Us is directed by Timo Tjahjanto, one half of the Killers-directing Mo Brothers, and produced by The Raid: Redemption director Gareth Evans, who was quite hands on in the action scenes that fill the film’s runtime. Raid fans will be glad to know Joe Taslim and Yayan Ruhian are starring, while Iko Uwais handled the choreography. Hopefully we can expect more people getting killed by the bottoms of smashed-in doors, as that was my favorite bit of insanity in The Raid.
The film’s plotline is rather scarce, and involves Taslim as a mobster returning to the criminal underground of Jakarta in the aftermath of a massacre. As you can imagine, he finds himself stuck in the middle of betrayal and fight scenes. The thriller was picked up by RADiUS-TWC, who plans on releasing it at some point in 2015. It’s a good thing we’ve got Killers and The Raid 2 to check out in the meantime.