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SYFY WIRE Tribeca Film Festival

Werewolves, vampires, and serial killers: The best genre films we saw at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival

By Matthew Jackson
False Positive

The 2021 Tribeca Film Festival has come and gone, which means we've now seen quite a few more intriguing genre films to add to your personal lists of the most-anticipated new releases of the coming months. This year's fest, the 20th Tribeca Festival, managed to pull off a hybrid virtual and in-person event packed with films, including a genre lineup that included a buzzworthy werewolf whodunit, a harrowing pregnancy-themed horror film, a comedy about the end of the world, and more. Now, with the festival in the rearview, we're here to tell you what we liked best.

So, from Werewolves Within to All My Friends Hate Me, here are the best genre films we caught at Tribeca this year.


01. Werewolves Within

[Image credit: IFC Films]

I'm not sure how much more I can say about how much I loved Josh Ruben's follow-up to Scare Me, a tension-laden horror-comedy with a fantastic ensemble cast, wonderful dialogue, an Ace of Base needle drop and so much more. You can read my full reaction to the film for more details, but what I'll add right now is this: Sam Richardson and Milana Vayntrub are perfect together, George Basil stole almost every scene he was in, and at one point Harvey Guillen delivered a line so perfectly that I almost fell out of my chair.

In theaters June 25, on-demand July 2.

False Positive

02. False Positive

[Image credit: Hulu]

Broad City alum Ilana Glazer makes the leap from comedy to horror with precision, enthusiasm, and nerve-shredding tension with False Positive, which she stars in and co-wrote with director John Lee. The story of a couple (Glazer and Justin Theroux) who visit a charismatic specialist (Pierce Brosnan) after years of fertility problems, Fale Positive walks a fascinating line somewhere between Rosemary's Baby, Dead Ringers, and Gaslight, with a surprisingly funny undercurrent running throughout.

On Hulu June 25.

We Need to do Something

03. We Need To Do Something

[Image credit: IFC Films/Tribeca Film Festival]

Directed by Sean King O'Grady and adapted by Max Booth III from his story of the same name, We Need To Do Something begins with a family of four (Pat Healy, Sierra McCormick, Vinessa Shaw, and John James Cronin) taking shelter in their bathroom to ride out a coming storm. As the night wears on, things keep get stranger, until each of them realizes in their own way that something is very wrong, and it goes far beyond a simple weather event. The entire cast is perfection, O'Grady's direction is a masterclass in tension, and Booth's script is full of the kind of dread-filled mystery horror that I'm primed to love.

In theaters and on-demand Sept. 3.

How It Ends

04. How It Ends

[Image credit: United Artists Releasing/Tribeca Film Festival]

If you knew it was the end of the world, what would you do? That's the seemingly simple question at the heart of How It Ends, the story of a woman (Zoe Lister-Jones, who also co-wrote and co-directed with Dary Wein) and the physical incarnation of her younger self (a remarkable Cailee Spaeny) who decide to spend the last day before an asteroid hits the Earth walking around their city, making peace with everyone in their lives. Buoyant, star-packed, and structured in a way that builds to surprising emotional conclusions, How It Ends is a film about the end of the world done right.

In theaters and on-demand July 20.

My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To

05. My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To

[Image credit: Dark Sky Films/Tribeca Film Festival]

One of the films intended to premiere at Tribeca last year which hasn't gotten a wide release quite yet (as other Tribeca 2020 genre films like Honeydew have), My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To represents a contemplative, quiet, and ultimately haunting take on the vampire genre. The story of two siblings (Patrick Fugit and Ingrid Sophie Schram) who struggle to supply blood to their sick brother (Owen Campbell), writer/director Jonathan Cuartas' film takes vampire mythology and transforms it into an unsettling metaphor for the heartbreak that comes with caring for a sick loved one. Fans of Let The Right One In and Only Lovers Left Alive, take note.

In select theaters and on-demand June 25.

all my friends hate me

06. All My Friends Hate Me

[Image credit: Ravanburn/Tribeca Film Festival]

You won't find any supernatural monsters in All My Friends Hate Me, but that doesn't make the atmosphere of cringe-inducing paranoia it creates any less potent. Written by Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton (who also stars) and directed by Andrew Gaynord, the film follows a group of college friends who gather at a stately country manor for a birthday weekend. What starts as a celebration quickly turns darker, though, as the birthday boy begins to suspect an unplanned guest is up to something. The results are tense, unpredictable, hilarious, and even occasionally poignant.

No release date yet.


07. Poser

[Image credit: Tribeca Film Festival]

Harnessing the rich atmosphere of the Columbus, Ohio, music scene and wisely putting the talents of Damn The Witch Siren front and center, Ori Segev and Noah Dixon's Poser is the kind of film you'll rewatch as much for the vibe as for the story. The film follows a young woman (Sylvie Mix) who throws herself into the local music scene as a podcaster, and begins a friendship with local star Bobbi Kitten (herself) that's threatened when secrets bubble to the surface of their lives. Anchored by powerful performances from Mix and Kitten, as well as a killer indie soundtrack, Poser's a must-add to your 2021 thriller watchlist.

No release date yet.

No Man of God

08. No Man of God

[Image credit: Company X/Tribeca Film Festival]

No Man of God is not the first narrative feature about the life of serial killer Ted Bundy, but it might go down as the most compelling. Focused on Bundy's final years in prison before his execution, the film follows a rookie FBI profiler (Elijah Wood) as he heads to Florida in an effort to get inside Bundy's (a stunning Luke Kirby) head, and finds an unlikely connection forming in the process. Tense, economical, and led by two incredible performances from Wood and Kirby, Amber Sealey's film is the kind of searing fictionalized drama true crime fans always long for.

In theaters Aug. 27

09. See For Me

I love home invasion thrillers, and See For Me offered a particularly fun twist on the subgenre with its story of a blind former skier (Skyler Davenport) who finds her housesitting gig interrupted by burglars, and must rely on an app and a resourceful veteran with a webcam (Jessica Parker Kennedy) to survive the night. Elegantly constructed and full of intriguing little moral hooks, See For Me is a showcase for its two leads and a solid addition to its chosen subgenre.

No release date yet.