Chicago Critics Film Festival Recap

Featured image courtesy of Brigid Presecky/Hilltop Photo Co

Friends, the Chicago Critics Film Festival needed over a week ago and we were lucky enough to see a few incredible movies this year. Whereas the number of movies we saw dwindled down due to a cold, we did get to see some fantastic horror movies. It also was a pretty busy weekend with the Doc10 Festival going on at the same time. I initially planned to see eight movies but ended up only seeing three due to scheduling conflicts and being sick.

Check out our recaps below. 

In a Violent Nature

In a Violent Nature touts itself as a horror movie from the killer’s point of view. This is correct in one aspect as we do follow the killer around as he walks from one location to the next. While the 2 -3 minutes of walking from a third-person perspective might lose its charm for some viewers, those that stay for the destination will be in for a treat. The creativeness in the kills in this movie are just off the rails. You have never seen kills this gruesome on screen before. In a Violent Nature has broken through the door of what horror films can be and we can’t wait to see where this goes. 

When a locket is removed from a collapsed fire tower in the woods that entombs the rotting corpse of Johnny, a vengeful spirit spurred on by a horrific 60-year-old crime, his body is resurrected and becomes hellbent on retrieving it. The undead golem hones in on the group of vacationing teens responsible for the theft and proceeds to methodically slaughter them one by one in his mission to get it back – along with anyone in his way.


Oddity is the type of horror movie that creatively uses its setting to create tension and raise your anxiety level. Trying to solve the mysterious death of her twin sister, Darcy, Carolyn Bracken who also plays her sister Dani, visits and stays with her brother-in-law to see what happened. As she unveils her wedding gift, a life-size wooden man, the story starts messing with your mind and slowly unravels the mystery. The final few minutes are reminiscent of the original Candyman that will leave you squirming in your seats. 

Courtesy of Chicago Critics Film Fest

In this supernatural spectacle, a blind medium uncovers the truth behind her sister’s death with the help of a frightening wooden mannequin.

Handling the Undead

Handling the Undead is a movie that will stay with you long after the final scene. The movie brings up the question of how far would you go to keep your loved ones around. In the vein of Pet Sematary the dead that come back are not the same. Handling the Undead focuses on three families and how their world changes when a deceased loved one comes back. The decisions made and actions taken by these families only make things worse for all involved but who is to say what they are doing is wrong? Handling the Undead will have you questioning life support systems and when it is the right time to say good bye to a dying family member.

On a hot summer day in Oslo, the dead mysteriously awaken, and three families are thrown into chaos when their deceased loved ones come back to them. Who are they, and what do they want? A family is faced with the mother’s reawakening before they have even mourned her death after a car accident; an elderly woman gets the love of her life back the same day she has buried her; a grandfather rescues his grandchild from the gravesite in a desperate attempt to get his daughter out of her depression. Handling the Undead is a drama with elements of horror about three families, a story about grief and loss, but also about hope and understanding of what we can’t comprehend or control.

Every year the attendees can vote for their favorite movies of the fest and this year Rotten Tomatoes assisted in the process. The winners of the Rotten Tomatoes Audience Award of the 2024 Chicago Critics Film Festival are as follows:

Narrative Feature – GHOSTLIGHT
Documentary Feature – FLIPSIDE

Congratulations to the winners and we cannot wait to see what movies are shown next year.

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