9 Films We Can't Wait to See at Sundance 2024

From Sebastian Stan in a meta-thriller to a new Steven Soderbergh film to a high-concept romance starring Steven Yeun and Kristen Stewart, here's what we're looking forward to the most in Park City.

by | January 17, 2024 | Comments

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Renate Reinsve in Handling the Undead (2024)

(Photo by Sundance Film Festival)

Though we are in the throes of this year’s awards season, we are taking a break from all that campaigning to visit the first films we will be talking about come Oscar time, 2025. That’s right, we are back in the mountains of Park City, Utah — the birthplace of indie kids — for the Sundance Film Festival. Though the storied fest has been through many changes over the past few decades, with some even questioning if that indie spirit that was founded on the mountainside has been replaced by corporate sponsors and studio interests, we still are a huge fan of the festival, particularly with the new influx of leadership and an exciting new crop of films.

Lest we forget, it was just a couple of years ago when soon-to-be Best Picture winner Coda premiered to raucous reviews and an all-out bidding war that eventually went to Apple, giving the tech company bragging rights as the first streamer-only studio to garner an Oscar Best Picture winner after over a decade of Netflix making the very same attempt. And just last year, Past Lives made itself known as a romantic tear-jerker no one could stop talking about before it went on to make serious waves this awards season.

Moreover, every single filmmaker behind the last three Best Picture winners had projects that, in some way, touched the Sundance Institute’s incubation labs, whether it be the writers or directors. One can say that the bedrock of our current Academy has been built in Park City, which is one of the reasons why we’re so excited about this year’s crop of films and the names we’ll see bundled up at the Eccles Theater this weekend. Names like Christopher Nolan, Colman Domingo, and others will be on hand to bask in specialty prizes and, of course, campaign with those academy members who make the trip to the Snowy Summit. Read on for the titles that we’re already buzzing about and could go on to be the most talked-about films at the festival.

A Different Man (2024)

Sebastian Stan in A Different Man (2024)

(Photo by Matt Infante/©A24)

The main reason why we’re excited about this one is definitely the interesting pairing of the lead actor Sebastian Stan, who received raucous reviews for previous Sundance effort Fresh, and Renate Reinsve, star of The Worst Person in the World. Can we just confess how excited we are to see that chemistry on screen? A Different Man‘s ripped-from-the-headlines premise centers on a man who undergoes facial reconstruction surgery, only to discover another man is playing him in a play about his life. Like Todd Haynes’ recent May December, it’s another one of these meta-movie creations in which the process of movie-making — or in this case movie exploitation — takes center stage.

Freaky Tales (2024)

Pedro Pascal in Freaky Tales (2024)

(Photo by Sundance Film Festival)

Anytime we can see Pedro Pascal, it’s worth noting. The fact that this is also going to be the last performance of Angus Cloud that we will likely see on screen breaks our hearts and makes the film something we simply can’t miss. Starring Pascal, Normani, and Ben Mendelsohn, Freaky Tales will have something — or rather someone — for everybody. We, in particular, are intrigued to see what happens with Fifth Harmony member Normani, who recently made a conscious choice to leave the music world behind for acting. Could she be the next Lady Gaga, or will her run look more like Camila Cabello? Time will tell. A collection of interconnected stories set in the 1980s Bay Area, the film has the potential to go either way. Still, with proven indie directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck behind the camera, we are more than confident we will like it — add the music of Raphael Saadiq to the mix, and, well, we simply can’t wait.

Love Me (2024)

Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun in Love Me (2024)

(Photo by Sundance Film Festival)

Andy and Sam Zuchero had us with Steven Yeun and Kristen Stewart, following up on their recent Oscar-nominated work (in Minari for Yeun, in Spencer for Stewart) with a high-concept romance. Just the idea of a love story with two of the most dynamic and interesting actors of our generation has us more than intrigued, but its log line — “Long after humanity’s extinction, a buoy and a satellite meet online and fall in love.” — seals the deal.

Handling the Undead (2024)

Our second film from Renate Reinsve is based on the 2005 cult classic horror novel of the same name, which gets its first big-screen adaptation. Sundance has been known as a place for atmospheric horror movies that go on to incredible receptions. Does anyone remember a little film called Get Out? Still, reteaming with The Worst Person in the World co-star Anders Danielsen Lie is an interesting reunion to recommend. Helmed by writer-director Thea Hvistendahl, who has made a name for herself with a handful of horror shorts in recent years, the film follows what happens when a mysterious electric phenomenon in Oslo appears to bring the dead back to life.

My Old Ass (2024)

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in My Old Ass (2024)

(Photo by Sundance Film Festival)

Wouldn’t it be the most incredible bit of wish fulfillment to have a conversation with a version of our younger selves, and if our older selves looked anything like Aubrey Plaza, that wish fulfillment would be more akin to a dream come true. That’s what happens to Maisy Stella in My Old Ass, and if the title isn’t enough to put this one on your radar, then Megan Park, the writer and director of the criminally underseen The Fallout, should be. The fact that it is also courtesy of Margot Robbie’s prolific Lucky Chap Productions is just a bonus. With films like Barbie, Saltburn, Promising Young Woman, I, Tonya, and Birds of Prey already under her belt in just a few years, it’s no wonder that her name in front of “p.g.a.” has become synonymous with outstanding cinema.

Presence (2024)

Image from Presence (2024)

(Photo by Sundance Film Festival)

When Julia Fox stood on the red carpet discussing her upcoming work and saying that she doesn’t want to tell folks too much, but it’s going to be a masterpiece, we hope that she was speaking of Presence, directed by Steven Soderbergh, who returns to Sundance 35 years after his incredible debut Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Though her pronunciation in Uncut Gems is memorable, we haven’t forgotten just how great she was in that performance and hope to see her incredible screen presence and scene-stealing capabilities again. Also, we’re just interested to see what the vibes are like between her and Lucy Liu.

A Real Pain (2024)

Kieran Culkin and Jesse Eisenberg in A Real Pain (2024)

(Photo by Sundance Film Festival)

Jesse Eisenberg returns to Sundance with his second feature film as writer, director, and producer following his debut When You Finish Saving the World. This time around, he brings the freshly minted Emmy, Golden Globe, and soon-to-be SAG winner Kieran Culkin starring alongside Jennifer Grey and The White LotusWill Sharpe. This upcoming comedy about two cousins on a Holocaust grief tour is shaping up to be exactly the type of vibe we so richly enjoyed in Wes Anderson’s Darjeeling Unlimited.

Stress Positions (2024)

Image from Stress Positions (2024)

(Photo by Sundance Film Festival)

Don’t you just love it when other people somehow become the main characters in your story? That’s what hooked us on Stress Positions, a comedy about a man named Terry self-quarantining during the pandemic who is tasked with caring for his ex-husband’s nephew, a famous model recovering from a scooter accident who everyone else wants to meet. It seems to have been a COVID drama at the time of writing; the strict quarantine premise screams of a film that shifted to comedy before it finally made its way to audiences. Either way, we love messy, complicated characters like Terry, so sign us up.

Veni Vidi Vici (2024)

Image from Veni Vidi Vici (2024)

(Photo by Sundance Film Festival)

Is it crass to say that, with a title that translates to “I came, I saw, I conquered”, and a story that centers on a billionaire family and its wayward children, we don’t need much more? That was enough for us on four award-winning seasons of Succession, and who are we to argue with a baker’s dozen of Emmys?

The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 18-28, 2024.

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