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10 TIFF Movies We Can’t Friggin’ Wait To See

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With each passing year, selecting your options at the Toronto International Film Festival gets significantly more difficult. Whereas some festivals do a lot of the selecting for you—narrowing the field down to a few dozen carefully curated options—TIFF bombards viewers with hundreds of worthwhile films from around the globe, and just 11 days to sample them. If you’re a genre movie fan, the options are less extensive, but there’s still no shortage of reasons to be excited. Here are 10 (actually 11) that you should consider seeking out.

1. The Martian

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Science fiction blockbusters rarely land in the TIFF selection, but this one comes equipped with a festival-friendly pedigree: director Ridley Scott and star Matt Damon. If the success of Andy Weir’s novel is any indication, The Martian is likely to emerge as one of the festival’s fan favourites.

2. High-Rise

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After making a strong impression at TIFF with 2011’s Kill List and 2012’s Sightseers, British director Ben Wheatley alienated some fans with his psychedelic 2013 period piece, A Field in England, and then, more importantly, directed the first two amazing episodes of last season’s Doctor Who. Working with his first high-profile cast (Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, and Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston) and an intriguing novel by J.G. Ballard, the director seems likely to revive (and expand) his fanbase with High-Rise.

3. The Green Room

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Director Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to 2013’s Blue Ruin, this Midnight Madness opener follows a punk band immersed in unlikely combat with neo-Nazis. Also, it’s got Patrick Stewart!

4. The Girl in the Photographs

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Executive produced by the late Wes Craven, The Girl in the Photographs revolves around a murder investigation with an unlikely leader: a celebrity photographer.

5. The Mind’s Eye

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A staple of ’70s and ’80s horror films like Carrie, The Fury, Firestarter, and Scanners, telekinesis returns to the forefront in this Midnight Madness entry about a psychic drifter battling telekinetic assassins.

6. The Final Girls

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Featuring one of the most promising premises of this year’s festival, The Final Girls shows what happens when a group of friends gets transported inside an ’80s slasher film.

7. Sicario

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Two years after the TIFF double whammy of Prisoners and Enemy, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve returns with an ambitious drug war drama starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro.

8. Desierto

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Mexico also figures prominently in Desierto, the directorial debut of Gravity co-writer Jonás Cuarón. This drama about Mexicans attempting to cross the border into The United States turns a little more interesting—and disturbing—when a deranged vigilante gets involved.

9. Evolution

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 Acclaimed French director Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s first feature since 2004’s Innocence, Evolution has been described by TIFF’s Colin Geddes as a “mesmerizing blend of aquatic body horror and surreal fantasy” that takes inspiration from The Island of Doctor Moreau.

10. The Witch

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Robert Eggers’ striking debut (we’ve already seen this one, and it’s incredible) about a family’s witchcraft-fuelled meltdown won the Best Director award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. While we have yet to sample the competition, it’s unlikely that genre fans will encounter a more accomplished horror film at this year’s festival.

11. The Mask (Eyes of Hell)

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Okay, so we’ve included an extra title, but there’s twist. If you’re still thirsty for more, consider this newly restored 3D oddity that is widely considered the first Canadian horror film. (Back in July, we listed it among our Canadian horror favourites.) Best of all, the TIFF screening on September 12th is free!

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