TADFF19: Highlights of the 2019 Toronto After Dark Film Festival

Toronto After Dark 2019

We are less than two weeks away from the 14th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival, which will be taking place from October 17-25, 2019 at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto. With the entirety of this year’s line-up now announced on the official website, I thought I would go through the line-up and offer “see it or skip it” recommendations for the films I’ve already seen, as well as listing the five films that I’m most excited to see for the first time. Let’s get started.

See It or Skip It?

Come to Daddy

COME TO DADDY (NEW ZEALAND, CANADA & IRELAND) – Toronto Premiere. Director – Ant Timpson.

Read my Fantasia 2019 Review

See It: The directorial debut of New Zealand filmmaker Ant Timpson, who has produced past Toronto After Dark favourites, such as Housebound, ABCs of Death 2, and Deathgasm.

Skip It: The film has a major tonal shift around the midway point, which might turn off some viewers expecting Come to Daddy to be a different type of film than it turns out to be. Also, Elijah Wood is sporting a pretty terrible haircut.


Paradise Hills

PARADISE HILLS (SPAIN, USA) – Toronto Premiere. Director – Alice Waddington.

Read my Fantasia 2019 review

See It: The lone female-directed feature at this year’s Toronto After Dark, which also features an allstar female cast of Emma Roberts, Milla Jovovich, Eiza González, and Awkwafina. The film is also written by genre favourite Nacho Vagalondo (Time Crimes, Collasal) and features some exquisite cinematography.

Skip It: The film is ultimately style over substance and its dystopian themes about female identity were done so much better in last year’s equally female lead and directed Level 16.


The Wretched

THE WRETCHED (USA) CLOSING GALA FILM – Toronto Premiere. Director – Brett & Drew Pierce.

Read my Fantasia 2019 review

See It: A “witchy Fright Night,” with a little Rear Window thrown in that has some impressive make-up effects and creepy moments.

Skip It: The creepy atmosphere that the Pierce Brothers are trying to create suffers in the early going by featuring “teen movie hijinks” that ultimately have no bearing on the plot as a whole.


Five Films I’m Most Excited For

The Assent

THE ASSENT (USA) – World Premiere. Director – Pearry Teo.

Why I’m Excited: One of the few World Premieres at this year’s Toronto After Dark, this exorcism film is promised to be one of the scariest selections in this year’s line-up.


Blood Machines

BLOOD MACHINES (FRANCE, UNITED STATES) – Toronto Premiere. Director – Seth Ickerman.

Why I’m Excited: This collaboration between filmmaker Seth Ickerman and techno musician Carpenter Brut seems to be just the type of high concept science fiction that I tend to eat up.


The Furies

THE FURIES (AUSTRALIA) – Special Presentation. Director – Tony D’Aquino.

Why I’m Excited: This slasher film twist on the basic premise of The Hunger Games looks to be this year’s major gorefest.


The Mortuary Collection

THE MORTUARY COLLECTION (USA) – International Premiere. Director – Ryan Spindell

Why I’m Excited: An anthology film starring Clancy Brown as a crypt keeper like narrator? Yes, please!


8

8 (SOUTH AFRICA) – Toronto Premiere. Director – Harold Holscher

Why I’m Excited: One of my biggest disappointments from this year’s Fantasia was how I was unable to get into the World Premiere of this South African folk horror film. As such, I’m quite happy that Toronto After Dark has programmed it, so I have a second chance!


The 2019 Toronto After Dark Film Festival takes place from October 17-25, 2019 at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto. Passes are now on sale.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).