7:30 PM, 13th October, 2017
When young Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) loses his paper boat in a stormwater drain, he is lured down into the sewers by the local neighbourhood demonic shape-shifting clown known as Pennywise (Skarsgård). He is lured by the promise of a balloon, any colour he wants, and the assurance that “they float… and you’ll float too!”
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, this story of horror and nightmares is set in the 1980s in the fictional town of Derry, Maine. When more local kids start disappearing one by one leaving behind bloody remains – like our poor Georgie – seven of Derry’s more street-wise kids decide to fight back. They are all unified by their horrifying and strange encounters with Pennywise, which are usually preceded by an eerie floating red balloon.
Clowns are evil. Clowns are scary. We all know this. If you have any doubt, do a Google search for ‘evil clown sightings’ and prepare to be totally creeped out. King himself made a dramatic understatement in an interview during the time of the most recent sightings that “under the right circumstances, clowns really can be terrifying.” Luckily we have the right circumstances for you: an ANU Film Group audience, on Friday the 13th… and free balloons, any colour you want. They float…
9:55 PM, 13th October, 2017
Let’s cut to the chase: It Comes at Night is probably the scariest film of the year. I say probably, because (a) I have yet to see everything released in 2017, and (b) your definition of scary could be The Emoji Movie (which we are not screening, so be thankful). But this sparse psychological horror-thriller is indeed edge-of-your-seat, embed-your-fingernails-into-the-person-next-to-you scary.
The plot is simple enough: Paul (Edgerton), his wife, and their teenage son live in an isolated cabin in the woods, doing all they can to survive after a virus has seemingly decimated the world. But their existence is thrown into chaos when a stranger (Abbott) attempts to break into their house one evening.
Captured and interrogated by Paul, the stranger claims he’s not sick, and that he’s just scouting for food and water for his wife and young son. Figuring there’s safety in numbers, Paul invites him and his family to stay in the house with them in one big, happy, post-apocalyptic family. And that’s when the fun begins.
Forgoing cheap jump scares and plot twists, director Trey Edward Shults nevertheless manages to wring an unimaginable amount of tension using the oldest tricks in the book: cinematography, lighting, music, and a solid script. The end result is a film that easily joins the likes of It Follows, The Babadook and The Witch in the prestigious genre best described as ‘arthouse horror’. It’s in truly terrifying company.