Tonight: All Things Horror screen "The Commune" at the Somerville Theatre

Tonight's "Women in Horror" showcase at the Somerville Theatre will present works from celebrated female filmmakers who know how to prey on audiences' primal fears. The program will spotlight the horror chops of some of the genre's up-and-coming female talents by presenting one feature film and four shorts-each written and directed by a female horror auteur. The night of woman-made horror flicks serves as the June installment of local indie horror collective All Things Horror's monthly film series at the Somerville Theatre.

Headlining the night is "The Commune," a feature-length psychological thriller written and directed by Elizabeth Fies. The film focuses on soon-to-be 16-year-old Jenny Cross, who has to split her time between divorced parents. The movie unfolds over Jenny's summer at the rural commune where her father resides, and where he seems to have brainwashed its hippie residents and taken up the mantle of their Charles Manson-like cult leader. Jenny soon learns that her creepy new housemates have a more elaborate plan for her than she could have expected.

"The Commune" follows Jenny's macabre sojourn in this cloistered "world of adults gone mad," and theatrical trailer hints at a memorable shock at the film's end. Internet horror fanatics to have lovingly pegged "The Commune" as a throwback to the 1970s horror flick in the tradition of Nicholas Roeg's "Don't Look Now," noting that Fies achieves an ominous mood throughout, allowing tension to build toward the climax  instead of throwing bodyparts around in every scene. "The Commune" is Fies's debut film, and in an interview with Planet Terror, she says she drew on influences from "The Wicker Man," "Twin Peaks," and "Chinatown" in bringing it to the screen.  

Alongside "The Commune," All Things Horror will screen four shorts, which they've called on their website "some of our strongest films to date." Monica Puller's humorous "Gimme!" follows an anthropomorphic doll's quest to murder three girls on Halloween night. Izabel Grondin's "Fantasy" aims to unsettle audiences with a dark tale of two strangers with a shared affinity for an offbeat sexual fetish. And rounding out the night of chills are two shorts by Maude Michaud: "Hollywood Skin" sees a young girl go to desperate lengths to make herself physically attractive enough to be an actress, and "Snuff" touches on the theme of female empowerment when a snuff-film director gets a heavy dose of his own perverted medicine.

Somerville Theater, 55 Davis Square, Somerville | Tonight @ 7 pm | $5 | or

--Andrew Cominelli

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