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The Pact & Excision Selected For 2012 Sundance Midnight

By Mike Everleth ⋅ December 6, 2011

Movie poster featuring a little girl peeking into a closet

Nicholas McCarthy’s The Pact and Richard Bates Jr.’s Excision are two of the seven feature films selected to screen at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival as part of the “Park City at Midnight” cult movie section. These films will be screening out of competition at the fest.

What makes these two horror-themed films stand out from the others is that they are feature-length versions of two acclaimed short films, both of which have been reviewed on the Underground Film Journal.

You can read the Underground Film Journal’s review of the short version of The Pact here and watch Bates’s short version of Excision here.

In addition to both films being in the horror genre, they also both feature strong female characters in the lead role.

The Pact tells the story of a young woman who, following the death of her mother, returns home to deal with the family estate. But, while staying in the house of her childhood, an unsettling presence makes itself known. The feature film has actress Caity Lotz taking over the role of the daughter that was originated in the short by Jewel Staite. The film also stars Casper Van Dien.

In Excision, a teenage girl obsessed with medical procedures takes her gory interests to extreme lengths. Actress AnnaLynne McCord takes over the role of the teenage girl in the feature from Tessa Ferrer in the short. (Ferrer is the granddaughter of Rosemary Clooney and Jose Ferrer.) The feature film also stars Traci Lords and John Waters.

Below is a list of all the films screening as a part of Sundance’s 2012 “Park City of Midnight” section:

Black Rock / U.S.A. (Director: Katie Aselton, Screenwriter: Mark Duplass) — Three childhood friends set aside their personal issues and reunite for a girls’ weekend on a remote island off the coast of Maine. One wrong move turns their weekend getaway into a deadly fight for survival. Cast: Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth.

Excision / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Richard Bates, Jr.) — A disturbed and delusional high school student with aspirations of a career in medicine goes to extremes to earn the approval of her controlling mother. Cast: AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart, John Waters.

Grabbers / Ireland, United Kingdom (Director: Jon Wright, Screenwriter: Kevin Lehane) — When the residents of an idyllic Irish fishing village are attacked by mysterious, blood-sucking sea creatures, a high blood alcohol content could be the only thing that gets them through the night. Cast: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Bronagh Gallagher.

The Pact / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Nicholas McCarthy) — As a woman struggles to come to grips with her past in the wake of her mother’s death, an unsettling presence emerges in her childhood home. Cast: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien.

SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS / United Kingdom (Directors: Dylan Southern, Will Lovelace) — A documentary that follows LCD Soundsystem front man James Murphy over a crucial 48-hour period, from the day of their final gig at Madison Square Garden to the morning after, the official end of one of the best live bands in the world.

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim) — After two guys are given a billion dollars to make a movie, their Hollywood dreams run off course and they decide to rehabilitate a run-down shopping mall in an attempt to make the money back. Cast: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim.

V/H/S / U.S.A. (Directors: Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence, Screenwriters: Simon Barrett, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence) — When a group of misfits is hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for. Cast: Joe Swanberg, Calvin Lee Reeder, Adam Wingard, Sophia Takal, Kate Lyn Sheil.