With SXSW 2016 in full swing, the Internet is buzzing about which films will be the year’s breakout hits. The entries run the gamut from sci-fi, to documentary, to comedy, to classic Western, with offerings from cult-favourite filmmakers and up-and-comers alike.
Below are 8 of the most highly anticipated movies making their debut at South by Southwest this year.
#1 Everybody Wants Some!!
Synopsis: A “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused set in the world of 1980 college life, Everybody Wants Some!! is a comedy that follows a group of friends as they navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood. Get ready for the best weekend ever.
One Sentence Buzz: Early screenings received an overwhelmingly positive response to Richard Linklater’s unfiltered, non-judgmental look at youthful rebelliousness.
#2 Midnight Special
Synopsis: In the sci-fi thriller Midnight Special, writer/director Jeff Nichols proves again that he is one of the most compelling storytellers of our time, as a father (Michael Shannon) goes on the run to protect his young son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), and uncover the truth behind the boy’s special powers. What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcement quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government. Ultimately, his father risks everything to protect Alton and help fulfill a destiny that could change the world forever, in this genre-defying film as supernatural as it is intimately human.
One Sentence Buzz: The director of Take Shelter and Mud brings you a science fiction adventure starring Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, and Adam Driver.
#3 Don’t Think Twice
Synopsis: When a member of a popular New York City improv troupe gets a huge break, the rest of the group – all best friends – start to realize that not everyone is going to make it after all.
One Sentence Buzz: Charming comedian Mike Birbiglia follows up 2012’s underrated but award-winning Sleepwalk with Me with a stellar comedic cast and a bleakly funny insider’s look at the NYC comedy scene.
#4 In A Valley Of Violence
Synopsis: From Blumhouse, a mysterious stranger and a random act of violence drags a town of misfits and nitwits into the bloody crosshairs of revenge.
One Sentence Buzz: An unlikely batch of actors (Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Karen Gillian) star in an unapologetic Western from an esteemed horror auteur.
#5 Beware The Slenderman
Synopsis: Beware The Slenderman tells the story of the internet’s elusive Boogeyman and two 12-year-old girls who would kill for him. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier lured their best friend into the woods, stabbed her 19 times, then set out on an odyssey to meet the tall and faceless man known online as Slenderman. Shot over 18 months with heartbreaking access to the families of the would-be murderers, the film plunges deep down the rabbit hole of their crime, a Boogeyman and our society’s most impressionable consumers of media. The entrance to the internet can quickly lead us to its dark basement, within just a matter of clicks. How much do we hold children responsible for what they find there?
One Sentence Buzz: The stomach-churning crime at the center of this documentary is a fascinating, heartbreaking, and horrifying reminder of what can happen in the modern internet age.
#6 Sausage Party
Synopsis: Written by the team that brought you Superbad, Pineapple Express and This Is The End, Sausage party is a hilarious and eye-opening look into the secret world of food as it comes alive in ways you could never possibly imagine.
One Sentence Buzz: What’s not to love about a raunchy, R-rated animated film about talking food with a script from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and a cast that includes Jonah Hill, James Franco, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, and Michael Cera?
#7 Pee-wee’s Big Holiday
Synopsis: In Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, a fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny.
One Sentence Buzz: Judd Apatow reboots the bizarre-but-nostalgic creation from that guy who was arrested for indecent exposure.
Synopsis: A mysterious catnapping triggers a chain of events that lead cousins Clarence and Rell into the belly of LA’s criminal underworld. Suburbanites at heart, the hapless pair are ill-equipped to deal with the threats and illegal activities that lie ahead, but they have no choice but to dive in and rescue Rell’s beloved kitten, Keanu.
One Sentence Buzz: Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele bring their beloved comedy to the big screen in a mad adventure that combines two of the Internet’s favourite things: cats and Keanu Reeves.