Toronto After Dark Film Festival Recap

05 November 2018 / by Elissa Matthews (author)
The Ranger still (photo: Jenn Wexler)
The Ranger still / (photo: Jenn Wexler)

Ghosts, time travel, possession and murder were all on display at the 13th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival this October. This year’s program brought a mix of genre cinema from local and international filmmakers. Below are some of the highlights from the festival:


Tigers Are Not Afraid

Issa Lopez’s Tigers Are Not Afraid is one of the films from the festival that I continue to think about. Lopez weaves a fantastic and creepy tale that mixes the horror and violence of drug cartels with magical elements. Tigers Are Not Afraid took home a number of awards from TADFF including the BEST FEATURE FILM SILVER and BEST DIRECTOR. Paolo Lara was also awarded BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE. Lara and her young co-stars were fantastic in the film and I look forward to seeing more from the cast and director who showed so much potential.


Satan’s Slaves

Billed as one of the scariest films of the year, Satan’s Slaves is a horrifying film filled with ghosts and, of course, the devil. Director Joko Anwar sets a methodic paced film that continually builds in tension. The performances are fantastic especially from the younger cast members. As a bonus the music in the film is great, especially the keystone track "Kelam Malam.” As may have been expected from a film billed to be terrifying, Satan’s Slaves was awarded with BEST HORROR FILM and MOST SCARY FILM at the festival.



Director Ray Xue’s debut feature takes after school hobbies to the next level with a group of teens who plan invasion murders for fun. I had a chance to speak to Ray Xue after Extracurricular's TADFF debut:


Life Changer

Directed and written by Justin McConnell, Life Changer is a short action packed feature that is generous in its scenes of body horror and Toronto landmarks. The body horror did not unnoticed and Life Changer was awarded BEST PRACTICAL EFFECTS at TADFF 2018. Listen to the full review:



The Ranger

Set in an ideal 80s realm, Jenn Wexler’s punk slasher The Ranger mixes a soundtrack including The Dayglo Abortions with a Lisa Frank colour palette. I spoke to Jenn Wexler about her film including the casting of the titular character who took home BEST VILLAIN at the festival. Listen here:  



The Dark

Another film featuring strong performances from a very young cast The Dark turns trauma into the undead. A blind boy and a zombie-like flesh eating girl become an unlikely pair, trying to survive in the woods and in a world filled with adults who have and will hurt them.


You Might Be the Killer

A campy romp You Might Be the Killer was awarded BEST FILM TO WATCH WITH A CROWD and FILM MOST WANT TO SEE A SEQUEL TO at TADFF 2018. Listen to the review below:


You can find more information about Toronto After Dark Film Festival and the 2018 Award Winners here


The author

Elissa Matthews

Program Director at CJRU 1280AM

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