The 2018 Sundance Film Festival kicks off today, marking the debut of some of the year’s most exciting independent films, as well as shorts, VR experiences, and more. Although only a small portion of the festival’s content is in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror/science arena, there are still a lot of films worth pointing out — and we’ve collected them all here for you.
I Think We’re Alone Now
If The Last Man on Earth was a drama starring Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning, you’d have I Think We’re Alone Now. The apocalypse happened, a survivor thinks they’re the last person in the world, but then they meet someone else. It’s directed by Reed Morano, who’s done multiple episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Sorry to Bother You
In this comedic fantasy set in an alternate-universe version of modern-day Oakland, a telemarketer finds a key that leads him into a dark, mysterious new world. Lakeith Stanfield stars along with Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, Jermaine Fowler, and Armie Hammer, and it’s written and directed by musician-turned-filmmaker Boots Riley.
John Cho plays a father whose teenage daughter goes missing, so he tries to search her laptop looking for clues. The whole thing takes place entirely on a computer screen and Debra Messing co-stars.
Sundance’s official description of Assassintation Nation makes it seem like a movie about the Salem Witch trials, but look at that photo. It seems more likely that the idea of a town going mad is modernised and turned into some kind of badass revenge tale. Bill Skårsgard co-stars along with Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, and Bella Thorne.
Lords of Chaos
Prolific music video director Jonas Åkerlund helms this film based on the cult book about the tumultuous early days of Norway’s extreme black metal scene — think church burnings, suicide, and murder. Rory Culkin stars along with Emory Cohen, Sky Ferreira, and Jack Kilmer.
Nicolas Cage stars in this revenge thriller about a couple in the Pacific Northwest whose peaceful life is turned upside down when their home is destroyed by an evil cult. It’s the second film by Panos Cosmatos, who did Beyond the Black Rainbow.
Eyes in the Red Wind
This South Korean thriller follows a group of friends and family who find a dead body and perform a ritual to ease its soul. However, the ceremony not only reveals the truth behind the mysterious death but also other shocking secrets.
Artist Tyler Hurd created Chorus, which transforms all its users into “fantastical female warriors” wielding crystals, lasers, and more, and doubles as a bit of a social experiment.
Space Explorers: A New Dawn
This VR experience puts users into an immersive world of NASA astronauts, as they train and go on missions.
SPHERES: Songs of Spacetime
Darren Aronofsky contributed to this VR experience which takes users into a black hole.
Sundance always has an impressive collection of shorts; this one, by writer and director Tomasz Popakul, is about a pair of astronauts who are stranded in space when nuclear war erupts on Earth.
The Blazing World
After years of dreaming about a mysterious world, a woman is presented with a map that actually leads there.
World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts
Don Hertzfeldt’s amazing sequel to his animated masterpiece has already hit a few festivals and we’ve written about it. Read more here.
The Right Choice
A couple is forced to answer three questions that will decide the fate of a designer baby in this creepy-sounding short.
High & Mighty
Sometimes Sundance will show a few episodes of a new show or series to get buzz going, and that’s the case with High & Mighty, which is about a man who is shot multiple times and wakes up with superpowers. However, those powers can only be accessed when he’s drunk or high.
This doc is about kids from around the world who prepare for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which is basically the largest high school science fair in the world.
Can what you put on the internet ever actually go away? This documentary explores an industry called “digital cleaning,” which attempts to truly erase certain things online.
In this true story, a group of hunters search remote islands in the Arctic Ocean looking for wooly mammoth tusks, and then find a surprisingly well-preserved carcass.
Nine students from around the world are the focus of this documentary about their journey to an international science fair, where they will compete against 1,700 students from 78 countries.
Deep Astronomy and the Romantic Sciences
Writer and director Cory McAbee (The American Astronaut) takes the stage at Sundance live, where he’ll “teach” two masterclasses that cover several fantastic science fiction concepts including space travel, inter-dimensional travel, and more. Except the masterclasses won’t be real — they will be performances themselves. What can I say? Sundance is weird.