“Horror is a universal language; we are all afraid. We are born afraid, we’re all afraid of things: death, disfigurement, loss of a loved one. Everything that I’m afraid of, you’re afraid of and vice versa.” John Carpenter, the American filmmaker, popularly known as ‘Master of Horror films’ didn’t exaggerate a bit while talking about the emotion that fuels his favourite film genre. What say? Right from Dracula to The Exorcist or Hereditary or Conjuring, those spine-chilling horror films always caught the attention of film lovers all over the world. Every country and every language can boast of at least a dozen horror films that thrilled and unsettled their audience. By skillfully manipulating our innate emotion of fear, this genre of films has carved a niche for itself in this huge multiverse of world cinema.
Recognizing this mass appeal and popularity of the horror genre, the 53rd edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is presenting ‘Macabre Dreams’, a quartet of newly released horror films which might haunt the film lovers even after leaving the movie screens. Films included in this supernatural special package are:
Night Siren (Slovakia / 2022)
Night Siren, directed by Tereza Nvotova, tells the tale of a young woman who returns to her native mountain village, searching for answers about her troubled childhood. But as she tries to uncover the truth, ancient legends begin to invade modern reality, leading the villagers to accuse her of witchcraft and murder.
The passionate and enigmatic horror film which unfolds in seven chapters addresses the resurgence of ancient beliefs in modern-day Slovakia and how issues such as misogyny, xenophobia, and mass hysteria still prevail in our modern world.
The film also tells the story of what it takes to be free when we choose to step off the beaten path.
Huesera (Peru / 2022)
Huesera is a supernatural body horror film directed and co-written by Mexican filmmaker Michelle Garza Cervera. It stars Natalia Solián as Valeria, a pregnant woman who finds herself threatened by occult forces. With motherhood upon her, Valeria can’t shake off heavy self-doubt and a pervasive dread, the latter stemming from visions of spider-like presences and other possibly supernatural threats. Hoping to confront these demons, she reconnects with the old and more carefree life she once had, including rekindling an old flame with her first love, Octavia.
An international co-production of Mexico and Peru, Huesera had its world premiere at the Tribeca Festival on 9th June 2022 and won the Best New Narrative Director and Nora Ephron awards.
Venus (Spain / 2022)
Venus is a Spanish supernatural horror film set in an urban survival environment, with elements of modern witchery. The movie, directed by Jaume Balagueró, is the second entry in the six-part ‘The Fear Collection’ that Sony Pictures International Productions and Amazon Prime Video are jointly producing. The first movie was Álex de la Iglesia’s Venecia Frenia (2021).
The plot is inspired by American writer H. P. Lovecraft’s horror short story ‘The Dreams in the Witch House’. The story begins when a ballet dancer steals a bag full of pills from the nightclub where she works. When the plan goes awry, pursued by a gang of thugs, she decides to take refuge in her sister’s flat. However, that refuge seems to hide a threat far more powerful than the men who seek it. From the plot to the soundtrack that mixes more conventional horror sounds and powerful moments of electronic music, Balagueró creates a bizarre and hilarious update of Lovecraft.
Hatching (Finland, Sweden / 2022)
Hatching, a Finnish psychological body horror film directed by Hanna Bergholm premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2022. It won the Grand Prix and the Prix du Jury Jeunes at the Gérardmer International Fantastic Film Festival.
The film centres on Tinja, a young gymnast desperate to please her mother, a woman obsessed with presenting the image of a perfect family to the world through her popular blog. One day, Tinja finds a mysterious egg, which she chooses to bring home. Once it hatches, she names the creature “Alli”, and cares for it as it grows into a doppelgänger that acts upon Tinja’s repressed emotions.