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Dys-

World Premiere
  • Quebec
  • 2014
  • 97 mins
  • DCP
  • English
Watch the Trailer
World Premiere, Hosted by Writer/Director Maude Michaud & Guests

Eva is a former model past her professional prime, seeking a new career path. Her husband Sam is a professor in a university’s department of photography. On the surface, they’d appear to be a perfect, successful couple, but in the confines of their high-end condo, the distance between them, and the darkness settling over each, is all too apparent — the silence thunders. As a particularly virulent strain of the flu afflicts ever more of the people around them, it’s the declining health of their relationship that consumes them — a decline expedited by Eva’s recent loss of their unborn child. The scope of the epidemic outside their home, however, becomes evident when a lockdown of schools and businesses is announced on the morning of Eva’s first day at her new job. Disturbing reports, isolated incidents at first, are surfacing. They seem like distant things, outlandish stories of crazed cannibalism, until the tendrils of fear and horror begin to insinuate themselves into the couple’s insulated existence. Brittle Eva is increasingly disturbed, afflicted by horrifying hallucinations — or are they? Sam is likewise on edge as his paranoia intensifies. Can they survive the nightmare brewing beyond their doors and windows? More immediately… can they survive each other?

A fraught relationship drama, a medical thriller, a graphic and disturbing horror film — Maude Michaud’s debut feature film is all of these, as it approaches a now all-too-familiar theme from a surprising and effective new angle. Absent are the usual us-vs.-them zombie fights and over-the-top gore (though Michaud doesn’t flinch when it comes to the startling and gruesome). In their stead is a potent psychological profile of two souls in descent, dragged down by their own fears and secrets. The approach invests this simple but effective huis clos with a naturalism and authenticity that are quick to take hold and very hard to shake. A strong advocate of women’s voices and perspectives in the horror genre, Michaud is the mastermind behind the ongoing webseries BLOODY BREASTS: AN EXPLORATION OF WOMEN, FEMINISM, AND HORROR FILMS. Following a chain of short films that started at the precocious age of 16, and contributions to the horror anthology titles I HATE L.A. and FRANKENSTEIN UNLIMITED. She now graduates to the full-blown feature film, and her debut DYS- functions ferociously.

— Rupert Bottenberg

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