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'The Elderly' Brings Geriatric Horror to Sitges 2022

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David Gordon Green's 'Halloween' trilogy celebrates its own particular closing ceremony with 'Halloween Ends'

The Sitges 2022 printing presses are already beginning to slow down. After completing today's level, the Festival only has two more screens left to play, but even if it seems like the metaverse has run out of steam, it still has some surprises in store. The final days of last year's edition welcomed the screening of Paco Plaza's The Grandmother, a horror movie about old age that unsettled Sitges' audiences. This year, Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez picked up the baton for this theme, as commonplace as it is terrifying, with The Elderly, a supernatural film that was the highlight of the day.

The duo of Spanish directors took center stage at today's press conference, where Raúl Cerezo shed light on their creative process when conceiving the story: "I've never understood that the screenwriter stops working when he hands in the script, because the story is always alive". As for Fernando González Gómez, he commented on his intentions when it came to planning the film's jump scares: "We planned all the sequences very carefully. The film itself follows a daily line that blows up at the end. For the jump scares, we like to work with off-camera quite a lot, using suggestion, like the great masters of yesteryear used to do, and for the jump scares to lead to something else, to an awakening". Later in the evening, the team presented the film at its official screening.

Another of the Festival's recurring sagas came to an end today at the Auditori. After having welcomed the preview of Halloween Night in 2018 and Halloween Kills in 2021, today Sitges witnessed the end of David Gordon Green's trilogy, which adopts the fictional universe created by John Carpenter almost fifty years ago. The screening of Halloween Ends, which caused a great buzz among fans, was preceded by a video presentation by Jamie Lee Curtis, where she thanked the fans for their support of the legendary saga in general and her character in particular.

Also causing a special commotion was the Mexican film Huesera, directed by Michelle Garza, a particular Rosemary's Baby that landed in Sitges after having been a big hit at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film cultivates a common horror genre trope like diabolical motherhood, through the story of a pregnant woman who is pursued by an evil creature. Garza had the opportunity to present her film for its official screening at the Auditori.

A little before midnight, a very unique British thriller surprised Sitges fans with its technical virtuosity and formal overdrive. We're talking about Medusa Deluxe, a film shot in a single sequence by Thomas Hardiman where a community obsessed with fashion explodes after the murder of one of its members. The English filmmaker visited the Catalan coast to present his directorial debut.

Following in the wake of British filmmaking, today was the screening of Emily, the directorial debut of actress Frances O'Connor, one of the most distinctly melodramatic productions in the Official Selection. Set in the 19th century, Emma Mackey (Sex Education, Death on the Nile, etc.) brings to life Emily Brönte, known for writing the bestseller Wuthering Heights, who died at the young age of 30. Also competing in the official selection is the dystopian Vesper, by Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper, which raises the extremely relevant issue of the possible collapse of the Earth's ecosystem. In addition, veteran Cambodian documentary filmmaker Rithy Pan presented his new work, Everything Will Be OK, a peculiar film that uses puppets to address the new forms of communication in the contemporary era.

Among the screenings in the other sections, two interesting films from Noves Visions were highlights. LOLA, by Andrew Legge, brings to the screen a minimalist time travel storyline, in the style of gems like Primer or Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes; while Domingo y la niebla, the phantasmagoric film by Costa Rican Amat Escalante, arrives at the film competition after its success at the recent Cannes Film Festival. Meanwhile, from the Anglo-Saxon film scene, Shepherd, a supernatural and harrowing horror film, and A Wounded Fawn, where Travis Stevens conceives the character of a serial killer who finds his victims through a dating app. In addition, fans of Oriental cinema stayed up late after the double bill entitled The Night + Kaiju, which included the Japanese What to Do with the Dead Kaiju, directed by Satoshi Miki, where dealing with the corpse of a giant monster becomes a serious problem, and Lee Tongkham's The Lake, about a mysterious creature that isolates a Thai village from the rest of the territory. In Seven Chances, demons dominated the lineup with Demonlover, the neo-noir that Olivier Assayas shot in 2004, and Demon Pond, Masahiro Shinoda's classic.

The rest of the activities weren't left behind in terms of their appeal. In the Noray Tent, filmgoers were able to enjoy the recording of this year’s special Marea Nocturna. In the podcast, regulars Desirée de Fez, Ángel Sala, Jordi Sánchez-Navarro and Xavi Sánchez Pons welcomed a very special guest, Jaume Balagueró, with whom they talked about contemporary genre films, without forgetting the two works he is presenting at the Festival: Venus and El televisor, an episode of Historias para no dormir (Stories to Keep You Awake at Night). In the Garbí Room of the Hotel Meliá there was the exhibition Success Factors for Seducing the Audience, which offers clues about the complex functioning of the current market; the talk Wearing the Multiverse, where Peris Digital and Peris Costume presented a new scanning system for clothing, and the presentation of FANTLATAM - Latin American Alliance of Fantastic Film Festivals.