The 2019 Sundance Film Festival is still a few weeks away but it just revealed the 112 feature films that’ll be playing the festival next year. They originate from 33 countries and were chosen out of over 15,000 submissions.
That’s a lot of movies.
Fortunately for us, not all of the heavy dramas and poignant political documentaries are things we cover on Gizmodo. So, we went through the list and pulled out the weird shit. The cool shit. The shit that has Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad fighting zombies! Or is Cast Away but as a ghost story. Or stars Zac Efron as a serial killer. Or is about a girl raised by a robot. You know, the stuff we care about.
And don’t forget this is the festival where, last year, films like Hereditary, Sorry to Both You, Mandy, and Searching debuted. So odds are, a few of the movies here are the movies we’re going to be talking about come the end of next year.
Not all of these are 100 per cent genre. Some are genre-adjacent, about subjects (like serial killers, space travel, hacking, satanism, and so on) that are real, but still in the general vicinity. We still think you’ll be interested. Here are the official festival descriptions for the films, grouped by their festival classification.
Greener Grass / USA (Directors and screenwriters: Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, Producer: Natalie Metzger)
A deliciously twisted comedy set in a demented, timeless suburbia where every adult wears braces on their straight teeth, couples coordinate meticulously pressed outfits, and coveted family members are swapped in more ways than one in this competition for acceptance.
Cast: Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, Beck Bennett, Neil Casey, Mary Holland, D’Arcy Carden. World Premiere
Little Monsters / Australia (Director and screenwriter: Abe Forsythe, Producers: Jodi Matterson, Bruna Papandrea, Steve Hutensky, Keith Calder, Jessica Calder)
A film dedicated to all the kindergarten teachers who motivate children to learn, instil them with confidence and stop them from being devoured by zombies.
Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Josh Gad. World Premiere
MEMORY — The Origins of Alien / USA (Director: Alexandre O. Philippe, Screenwriter: Alexandre O. Philippe, Producer: Kerry Deignan Roy)
The untold origin story behind Ridley Scott’s Alien — rooted in Greek and Egyptian mythologies, underground comics, the art of Francis Bacon, and the dark visions of Dan O’Bannon and H.R. Giger. A contemplation on the symbiotic collaborative process of moviemaking, the power of myth, and our collective unconscious.
Sweetheart / USA (Director: JD Dillard, Screenwriters: JD Dillard, Alex Theurer, Alex Hyner, Producers: Jason Blum, JD Dillard, Alex Theurer, Alex Hyner, Bill Karesh)
Jenn has washed ashore a small tropical island and it doesn’t take her long to realise she’s completely alone. She must spend her days not only surviving the elements, but must also fend off the malevolent force that comes out each night.
Cast: Kiersey Clemons, Emory Cohen, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Andrew Crawford. World Premiere
The Hole in the Ground / Ireland (Director: Lee Cronin, Screenwriters: Lee Cronin, Stephen Shields, Producers: John Keville, Conor Barry)
One night, Sarah’s young son disappears into the woods behind their rural home. When he returns, he looks the same, but his behaviour grows increasingly disturbing. Soon, Sarah realises that the boy who returned may not be her son at all…
Cast: Seána Kerslake, James Cosmo, Kati Outinen, Simone Kirby, Steve Wall, James Quinn Markey. World Premiere
The Lodge / USA, United Kingdom (Directors: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala, Screenwriters: Sergio Casci, Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala, Producers: Simon Oakes, Aliza James, Aaron Ryder)
In this psychologically-chilling slow burn, a young woman and her reticent new stepchildren find themselves isolated in the family’s remote winter cabin, locked away to dredge up the mysteries of her dark past and the losses that seem to haunt them all.
Cast: Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Alicia Silverstone, Richard Armitage. World Premiere
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile / USA (Director: Joe Berlinger, Screenwriter: Michael Werwie, Producers: Michael Costigan, Nicolas Chartier, Ara Keshishian, Michael Simkin)
A chronicle of the crimes of Ted Bundy from the perspective of Liz, his longtime girlfriend, who refused to believe the truth about him for years.
Cast: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Haley Joel Osment, Kaya Scodelario, John Malkovich, Jim Parsons. World Premiere
I Am Mother / Australia (Director: Grant Sputore, Screenwriter: Michael Lloyd Green, Producers: Timothy White, Kelvin Munro)
In the wake of humanity’s extinction, a teenage girl is raised by a robot designed to repopulate Earth. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger arrives with alarming news.
Cast: Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne, Hilary Swank. World Premiere
Relive / USA (Director: Jacob Estes, Screenwriters: Jacob Estes, Drew Daywalt, Producers: Jason Blum, Bobby Cohen)
After a man’s family dies in what appears to be a murder, he gets a phone call from one of the dead, his niece. He’s not sure if she’s a ghost or if he’s going mad — but as it turns out, he’s not. Instead, her calls help him rewrite history.
Cast: David Oyelowo, Storm Reid, Mykelti Williamson, Alfred Molina, Bryan Tyree Henry. World Premiere
Light From Light / USA (Director and screenwriter: Paul Harrill, Producers: James M. Johnston, Kelly Williams, Toby Halbrooks, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Headington, Theresa Page)
Shelia, a single mum and sometime paranormal investigator, is enlisted to investigate a possible “haunting” at a widower’s farmhouse in East Tennessee.
Cast: Marin Ireland, Jim Gaffigan, Josh Wiggins, Atheena Frizzell, David Cale. World Premiere
Paradise Hills / Spain, USA (Director: Alice Waddington, Screenwriters: Nacho Vigalondo, Brian DeLeeuw, Producers: Adrian Guerra, Núria Valls)
A young woman is sent to Paradise Hills to be reformed, only to learn that the high-class facility’s beautiful facade hides a sinister secret.
Cast: Emma Roberts, Danielle Macdonald, Awkwafina, Eiza González, Milla Jovovich, Jeremy Irvine. World Premiere
US Documentary Competition
APOLLO 11 / USA (Director: Todd Douglas Miller, Producers: Todd Douglas Miller, Thomas Petersen, Evan Krauss)
A purely archival reconstruction of humanity’s first trip to another world, featuring never-before-seen 70mm footage and never-before-heard audio from the mission.
Hail Satan / USA (Director: Penny Lane, Producer: Gabriel Sedgwick)
A look at the intersection of religion and activism, tracing the rise of The Satanic Temple: only six years old and already one of the most controversial religious movements in American history. The Temple is calling for a Satanic revolution to save the nation’s soul. But are they for real?
Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary / USA (Director and screenwriter: Ben Berman, Producers: Miranda Bailey, Ben Berman, Russell Groves, Amanda Marshall, Jacob Perlin)
What begins as a documentary following the final tour of a dying magician — “The Amazing Johnathan” — becomes an unexpected and increasingly bizarre journey as the filmmaker struggles to separate truth from illusion.
Cast: Johnathan Szeles. World Premiere
World Cinema Dramatic Competition
Koko-di Koko-da / Sweden, Denmark (Director and screenwriter: Johannes Nyholm, Producer: Johannes Nyholm)
As a couple goes on a trip to find their way back to each other, a sideshow artist and his shady entourage emerge from the woods, terrorising them, luring them deeper and deeper into a maelstrom of psychological terror and humiliating slapstick.
Cast: Leif Edlund, Ylva Gallon, Peter Belli, Katarina Jacobson. World Premiere
World Cinema Documentary Competition
The Magic Life of V / Finland, Denmark, Bulgaria (Director: Tonislav Hristov, Screenwriters: Tonislav Hristov, Kaarle Aho, Producers: Kaarle Aho, Kai Nordberg)
Haunted by childhood traumas, Veera is trying to become more independent through live roleplaying. As she guides herself and her mentally-challenged brother through worlds of multiple roles and identities, witches and wizards, she finds the courage to face the demons of her own past and her abusive father’s legacy.
The Great Hack / USA (Directors: Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim, Screenwriters: Karim Amer, Erin Barnett, Pedro Kos, Producers: Karim Amer, Geralyn Dreyfous, Judy Korin)
Data, arguably the world’s most valuable asset, is being weaponised to wage cultural and political wars. The dark world of data exploitation is uncovered through the unpredictable personal journeys of players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data story.
THE WITCH HUNTERS / Serbia, Macedonia (Director: Rasko Miljkovic, Screenwriters: Marko Manojlovic, Milos Kreckovic, Producer: Jovana Karaulic)
10-year-old Jovan is often escaping reality to immerse himself into a fantasy world. It all changes when he befriends his new classmate Milica and the adventure to hunt her ‘witch’ stepmother starts. Cast: Mihajlo Milavic, Silma Mahmuti. US Premiere
The 2019 Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City Utah from January 24 — February 3, 2019. Visit their official site to find out how to attend. Or, just wait a year to see all these movies.