The At-Home Genre Fest | Movie Feature | Chicago Reader

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The At-Home Genre Fest

Enjoy a mini streaming film festival, all from the comfort of your couch.

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We might not be able to go to movie theaters for the foreseeable future, but that doesn't mean we can't stream and support some new releases. Now more than ever feels like a perfect time to dive into some fresh genre films—they are uniquely able to transport you to another world and provide a much-needed distraction, but they can also allow you to think about the current state of our world with a fresh perspective. From cults to creature features, these offerings will make for a rousing genre fest you can host from the comfort of your own home.

Blow the Man Down Directed by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy (streaming on Amazon Prime Video)

Sea shanties and mischief abound in Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy's impressive debut feature. Following the death of their mother, two sisters (Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor) find themselves uncovering a series of macabre secrets—and attempt to cover up some of their own—in their seemingly picture-perfect New England fishing town. It's an incredibly cunning mystery with a charming cast of characters who ultimately crack under the pressure of keeping up with their appearances.

Bacurau Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles (available to rent on KinoNow, with half of proceeds benefiting the Music Box Theatre)

Vibrant in its presentation and ballsy in its form, Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles's Cannes Jury Prize winner offers an inventive, genre-bending twist on the longstanding horrors of colonialism. The people of a small Brazilian village mourn its matriarch, and they grow tired of their corrupt leader who lives in luxury while they barely scrape by. But when the town is suddenly nowhere to be found on maps, UFOs are spotted in the air, and mercenaries come out to play, it's quickly revealed that there are other, more sinister forces at play. It's a rallying cry against structural injustice told through a satisfying blend of western and science fiction influences.

The Other Lamb Directed by Małgorzata Szumowska (available to rent on Amazon Prime Video and Google Play)

There have been a handful of films that touch on cults in recent years—from Charlie Says to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, among others—and Małgorzata Szumowska's The Other Lamb is a worthy addition that focuses on an often overlooked theme: revenge. A young woman born into an all-female cult, led by a man known as "The Shepherd," begins to question the only thing she's ever known. Her quest for autonomy is underscored by violent visions, striking cinematography, and a haunting score that will stay with you long after the credits roll. The Other Lamb is not a subtle allegory, but it never claims to be. Rather, it's a phoenix rising from the ashes and taking no shit.

Sea Fever Directed by Neasa Hardiman (available to rent on Amazon Prime Video)

For fans of sea monsters and pandemic horror, Neasa Hardiman's indie feature is sure to be a crowd pleaser. In Sea Fever, an introverted marine biologist joins a tight-knit crew on the Atlantic for her research, but plans change when members of the crew become infected after coming across a dangerous, unidentifiable creature. The film dives into high-stakes problem-solving that's gripping from beginning to end—from interrogations to quarantining and testing—while heralding an all-too-relevant moral message of the importance of distancing oneself for the greater good.

The Sharks Directed by Lucía Garibaldi (available on VOD April 14)

Lucía Garibaldi's Sundance darling is a searing take on the coming-of-age flick set in a small beachside town that becomes enraptured by rumors of a shark invasion. Fourteen-year-old Rosina lives her life unnoticed and dismissed, even when she tells her father she may have seen a dorsal fin in the water. Unsure of whether or not it was a product of her imagination, Rosina is haunted by the shark, laying the groundwork for a complicated sense of self and sexuality. The Sharks ruminates on desire through an unlikely female gaze: one of predator vs. prey. v

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