9 Sundance 2016 Films We Can't Wait to Watch

by Zach Seemayer 5:15 AM PST, January 21, 2016
Photo: Sundance Film Festival

The 2016 Sundance Film Festival kicks off Thursday and with it come some of the most groundbreaking, experimental, and challenging independent films from Hollywood and around the world.

From films about historical rebellions to people befriending dead bodies, from heartbreaking stories of overcoming tragedy to gore-filled battles against evil clowns and Canadian demons, here are nine movies screening at Sundance that we can't wait to watch.

MORE: 7 Beloved Movies You Didn't Know Debuted At Sundance

1. Christine

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall (Dir. Antonio Campos)

What It's About: The real-life tragic story of television reporter Christine Chubbuck, who committed suicide on-air in 1974.

Why We Want to See It: One of the most talked-about films at the festival this year, Rebecca Hall's powerful performance as Chubbuck looks like it could end up being Oscar-worthy.

2. The Birth of a Nation

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

Starring: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union (Dir. Nate Parker)

What It's About: Nat Turner's famous slave rebellion in 1830s Virginia.

Why We Want to See It: Written, directed by and starring Nate Parker, this period piece set during one of the worst times in American history looks fascinating, moving, and meaningful.

3. Swiss Army Man

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Dir. Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan)

What It's About: A man who gets lost and stranded in the wilderness comes across a dead body, and slowly develops a friendship with the corpse as he takes it on a surreal journey in an attempt to get home.

Why We Want to See It: Aside from the intriguingly bonkers premise, how could you not want to watch a movie starring Radcliffe, Dano and Winstead?

4. The Hollars

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

Starring: John Krasinski, Anna Kendrick, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Charlie Day, Sharlto Copely, Josh Groban, Margo Martindale, Richard Jenkins, Randall Park (Dir. John Krasinski)

What It's About: A New York City artist and his girlfriend take an unexpected trip to his small hometown after he finds out his mother is sick and needs brain surgery. Once home, he has to navigate the life he left behind and tried to forget.

Why We Want to See It: This ensemble comedy also serves as Krasinski's second directorial effort following his 2009 debut with Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. It's going to be great to watch the Office star shine in a big screen comedy, and we can't wait to see how he handles his sizable and talented cast as a director.

MORE: 9 Sundance 2015 Films You Need To Check Out!

5. Wiener-Dog

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

Starring: Gretta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Kieran Culkin, Ellen Burstyn, Julie Delpy, Zosia Memet (Dir. Todd Solondz)

What It's About: The ways in which an adorable dachshund changes several people's lives as the pup travels around the country spreading joy and inspiring people.

Why We Want to See It: As cute and charming as it sounds, director Todd Solondz is known for his intensely dark sense of humor, so this could turn out to be unexpectedly unsettling. However, it is also a spiritual sequel to his 1995 cult classic, Welcome to the Dollhouse, and that alone makes it worth watching.

6. The Free World

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Elisabeth Moss, Octavia Spencer (Dir. Jason Lew)

What It's About: After spending 20 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, Mo Lundy tries to make a life for himself in a world he doesn't fit into. Things get complicated when he strikes up a relationship with a married woman.

Why We Want to See It: Moss has proven herself to be a formidable actress during her time on Mad Men and in a number of independent films. This gritty drama about redemption is the perfect setting for her to showcase her talents.

7. The Fundamentals of Caring

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

Starring: Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez, Craig Roberts (Dir. Rob Burnett)

What It's About: Rudd plays a man who has suffered great tragedy, and decided to become a caregiver to earn money. He embarks on a road trip with an 18-year-old kid under his care, and they learn lessons about hope, happiness and friendship.

Why We Want to See It: Paul Rudd is in it. If you really need more, it also sounds like an emotionally charged tale about the strength of the human spirit, but mostly Paul Rudd.

8. 31

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

Starring: Sherri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, Elizabeth Daily, Jeff Daniel Philips, Richard Brake (Dir. Rob Zombie)

What It's About: Five carnival workers are kidnapped and taken to a nightmarish compound nicknamed Murder World. There they have to survive being hunted by homicidal clowns for 12 hours in order to be set free.

Why We Want to See It: Part of the Sundance at Midnight section of the festival, this long-awaited, gore-filled horror flick from director Rob Zombie has everything splatterpunk fans love. If you're looking to try out the twisted side of Sundance, this looks like it's going to be your best bet.

9. Yoga Hosers

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

Starring: Johnny Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Lily-Rose Depp, Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment (Dir. Kevin Smith)

What It's About: Two teenage Canadian girls who work together at a convenience shop must team up with a legendary man hunter to face off against an ancient evil and an army of monsters the rise up from under Canada's crust and attack their hometown of Manitoba.

Why We Want to See It: First, this is Kevin Smith's second film in his True North Trilogy -- the first being the 2014 horror flick, Tusk -- and it sounds like it could be the kind of wild, irreverent fun that made people like Smith in the first place. Secondly, Depp plays a badass man hunter named Guy Lapointe, and that's just too good to pass up.

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