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Brie Larson, Nicolas Cage, Leonardo DiCaprio and the Blair Witch: The countdown to TIFF 2016 continues

Heather Donahue turns the camera on herself during her confession scene from the 1999 horror film The Blair Witch Project."

AP

Envelope-pushing films starring Brie Larson, Anne Hathaway, Jim Carrey and a whole bunch of rats are heading to this year's Toronto International Film Festival, organizers revealed Tuesday morning.

The announcement was the latest in TIFF's summer-long roll-out of titles, and included details of the genre-centric Midnight Madness program, which bills itself as "the destination for those who love to sink their teeth into excessive, unrelenting, weird and wild films," according to a statement from Colin Geddes, international programmer for TIFF.

Highlights of this year's Midnight slate include Free Fire, the new film from fest favourite Ben Wheatley (High-Rise, A Field in England), starring Oscar-winner Brie Larson as a weapons broker struggling to survive a deal gone wrong; Dog Eat Dog, Paul Schrader's latest sure-to-be-scuzzy journey into the criminal underworld, starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe; Sadako vs. Kayako, a gonzo matchup of the iconic Japanese horror villains from the Ring and Grudge franchises; Morgan Spurlock's "horror documentary" Rats NYC; and Blair Witch, Adam Wingard's sequel to the original 1999 phenomenon, which was developed in secret as something called "The Woods" until all was revealed at last month's San Diego Comic-Con. (The real mystery, though, is why TIFF is billing Blair Witch as a "world premiere," when it already screened for select attendees in San Diego.)

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Also revealed on Tuesday was TIFF's Vanguard program, which acts as a quasi-extension of the Midnight Madness program, thanks to its dark and subversive fare. Highlights include The Bad Batch, a "savage dystopian cannibal fairy tale" from acclaimed director Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) starring Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves and Suki Waterhouse; Sarah Adina Smith's psychological drama Buster's Mal Heart, featuring Rami Malek (television's Mr. Robot); My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, the debut film from noted comic book writer Dash Shaw (Bottomless Belly Button); and Nacho Vigalondo's Vancouver-shot Colossal, which stars Anne Hathaway as a woman struggling with her mysterious connection to a giant Godzilla-like creature wrecking havoc on Seoul (yes, you read all of that correctly).

In addition to its more eccentric fare, TIFF announced the lineups for its Cinematheque, Short Cuts and documentary programs. The latter features a number of highly anticipated features from today's top documentarians, including Errol Morris (The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography); Jim Jarmusch (Gimme Danger, which played Cannes); and Werner Herzog (Into the Inferno).

Other docs sure to make waves include Fisher Stevens's The Turning Point, which features Leonardo DiCaprio and is being pushed as this year's answer to An Inconvenient Truth; Tony Guma and John Rose's The 6th Beatle, which focuses on music promoter Sam Leach; and Matt Tyrnauer's Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, a look at the life and legacy of urban-studies icon Jane Jacobs.

For those looking to revisit old favourites, though, the Cinematheque program should do the trick. The tightly curated slate will feature a selection of restored films, including Julie Dash's remarkable drama Daughters of the Dusk; Olivier Assayas's meta film industry satire Irma Vep; Marlon Brando's One-Eyed Jacks, his only effort as a director; and a 30th anniversary screening of Jonathan Demme's cult classic Something Wild (Demme will also be attending the festival to premiere his Justin Timberlake concert documentary, JT + The Tennessee Kids). Tickets to all the Cinematheque screenings will be free, and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis two hours before each screening.

The 41st edition of TIFF runs from Sept. 8 to 18.

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