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15 Films to See in September

Written by on September 2, 2019 

Our massive, two-part fall preview of the arthouse and foreign films to see this season (plus a few studio highlights) will give one an overview of the next four months, but now it’s time to dive a bit deeper. Our September preview features a few of the notable films that recently landed at festivals and beyond, including a good amount of genre fun.

15. Freaks (Zach Lipovsky and Adam Stein; Sept. 13)

As TIFF approaches, one of our favorites from last year is finally getting a release. This psychological sci-fi bending thriller conveys the story of seven-year-old Chloe (Lexy Kolker) who has been locked in an abandoned house by her paranoid father (Emile Hirsch), protecting her from unseen horrors in the process. Jared Mobarak wrote in his review, “The film ultimately expands to encompass a worthwhile mythology with ample sequel potential…Fantasies and dreams crafted by a seven-year-old girl’s imagination give pause because the results of such interludes have a lasting effect on the future. And every little detail — straight down to a smiling child holding out a melting ice cream without caring that it’s pooling atop her hand — carries weight. Not a second is wasted.”

14. One Cut of the Dead (Shinichirou Ueda; Sept. 13)

A film shoot can be grueling enough, but add real zombies to the mix, and it will turn into one’s worst nightmare. The acclaimed Japanese horror-comedy One Cut of the Dead follows a film crew making their own zombie horror film when real zombies turn up and the director keeps rolling. Written, directed, and edited by Shinichiro Ueda with a budget of just $25,000, it went on to gross over $30 million worldwide and will now arrive in the United States this month. Set for a release by Shudder and Variance Films, the Fantasia and Fantastic Fest winner opens in NY and LA on September 13 and will have over 60 one-night screenings across the country on September 17.

13. Chained for Life (Aaron Schimberg; Sept. 11)

A highlight on the festival circuit since its BAMcinemaFest premiere back in 2018, Chained for Life, starring Jess Weixler and Under the Skin star Adam Pearson, will finally arrive in theaters. Leonardo Goi said in his review, “‘Do you feel like the story is exploitative?’ a journalist asks actress Mabel (Jess Weixler) about the new film she’s starring in, early into Aaron Schimberg’s brilliant second feature Chained for Life. In a meta-melodrama that constantly seesaws between fiction and reality, sprawling across a labyrinthine and multi-layered narrative that seamlessly jumps from one textual plane to another, I found myself wondering whether the question was in fact leveled at Schimberg’s own work.”

12. The Day Shall Come (Chris Morris; Sept. 27)

Chris Morris’ latest film isn’t the dark comedy knock-out that was his debut Four Lions, but it still aims to throw some incendiary darts at its scattered board. Premiering at SXSW, the film follows an FBI operation to turn an innocent black man into a criminal. John Fink said in our review, “Allegedly based upon a hundred true stories, The Day Shall Come, directed by Chris Morris (Four Lions), is another comedy satirizing the theatrics involved in the theater of war–this war, of course, is the War on Terror. This is difficult material to farm laughs from and the film is only marginally successful at showing the absurdity of a sting where competing organizations waste resources frying small fish that otherwise may be harmless. ”

11. Villains (Robert Olsen and Dan Berk; Sept. 20)

Two stand-outs of modern horror have teamed for a new genre feature. It stars–It Follows lead Maika Monroe and It‘s Pennywise himself Bill Skarsgård–get more than they bargained for when a home invasion goes awry in Villains. Directed by Dan Berk & Robert Olsen, the film premiered at SXSW to strong acclaim and after a fun trailer, it’ll arrive this month. Considering Skarsgård’s other major horror film of the year clocks in at nearly three hours, we’ll take this sub-90-minute genre outing instead.

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