Review by Sean Boelman
The Overlook Film Festival is well-known by cinephiles to be one of the greatest film festivals in the United States dedicated to showcasing horror and genre cinema. However, for 2023, the festival left its usual summer dates to offer an edition in the spring, allowing it to take advantage of some of the buzziest films from the spring festival circuit.
We at disappointment media are again excited to be covering the Overlook Film Festival, and we wanted to point you to some of the films we think you should keep an eye out for.
Apart from the world premiere of the Nicolas Cage Dracula movie Renfield on opening night, the other jewel in the crown of the Overlook lineup is the second festival showing of Evil Dead Rise. Although no talent from the film will be present, festival-goers won’t want to miss this opportunity to see this gnarly reboot of the iconic horror franchise. The film absolutely brought the house down at its SXSW debut, and is sure to shake Overlook visitors to their core.
Late Night With the Devil was another SXSW premiere that is now making its way to the Overlook, and while this writer’s reaction was initially a bit more mixed, it has stuck with me more than most movies from the SXSW lineup. David Dastmalchian (virtually flawlessly) plays a late-night talk show host in a show that does not go according to plan, resulting in a blend of mockumentary and found-footage horror that is flawed, but undeniably chilling.
Ted Geogehegan’s Brooklyn 45 also debuted in the Midnighters section in Austin a few weeks back, where it was one of the more universally acclaimed films. It’s the type of spooky chamber piece that is a slow burn, but it boasts a sharp script and many impressive performances — including a career-best turn from legendary horror character actor Larry Fessenden, who is absolutely riveting in his role.
Overlook is also known for the quality of its retrospective programming, and this year’s biggest highlight is an anniversary screening of Only Lovers Left Alive, which will be followed by a discussion with Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan (whose band SQÜRL will be headlining the opening night party, the Vampire Ball). It’s sure to be a fascinating, enriching discussion for cinephiles.
For those looking for a reprieve from the terror, Overlook also offers a small selection of genre-adjacent films, the highlight of which is the festival circuit gem The Artifice Girl. The low-key sci-fi drama has been making several stops since its Fantasia debut and has been getting more and more acclaim with each one — and it’s understandable why, as it is absolutely gripping and thought-provoking.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg of Overlook’s lineup. There are plenty of choices for any horror cinephile, and it is sure to be a great weekend filled with scary movies, friends, and fun.
The Overlook Film Festival runs from March 30-April 2 in New Orleans, LA.
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