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Keira Knightley Christmas movie will close Fantastic Fest 2021 in Austin

Eric Webb
Austin 360

Have Christmas dinner a little early at Fantastic Fest. Austin's annual celebration of genre films will close out this year's festival with "Silent Night," starring Keira Knightley.

The "pitch-black comedy" from director Camille Griffin will get its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest, organizers announced Thursday. "Silent Night," which also stars Matthew Goode and Roman Griffin Davis, is teased by the festival as "the strangest holiday celebration of the year, when a family gathers for a high-stakes Christmas dinner in Griffin's directorial debut."

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The Alamo Drafthouse-affiliated film festival also revealed more titles coming to Austin for its 16th edition, Sept. 23-30, in a final lineup reveal Thursday. One local highlight: "The Black Phone," starring sometimes-Austinite Ethan Hawke and written by Austin screenwriter C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson.

Netflix will present the world premiere of "There's Someone Inside Your House," a slasher flick from director Patrick Brice. "Slumber Party Massacre," a reimagining from SyFy of the 1982 cult classic, will also get a world premiere.

"Slumber Party Massacre" will screen as part of the 2021 edition of Fantastic Fest.

The festival also will present seven silent films from the early 20th century, which scores from artists on the GroundUp Music label, including the 1924 Soviet film "Aelita: Queen of Mars" with a new score by Snarky Puppy’s Chris Bullock. 

“With films coming from as far as Senegal, Latvia, Iran and Kazakhstan, and topics ranging from teenage assassins, circus freaks, serial killers and eerie children playing with dangerous powers, there is no doubt the program will delight the Fantastic Fest audience," Fantastic Fest director of programming Annick Mahnert said in a statement.

The festival also plans some virtual screening options, which will be available from Sept. 30-Oct. 11 via the Alamo On Demand streaming platform. Badge-holders will have access to those films for 48-hour time windows, according to the fest.

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Last week, Fantastic Fest announced changes to its pandemic safety protocols, spurred by new state rules. Attendees must show proof of vaccination or "a negative COVID test from a state-approved test provider taken within 24 hours of each day’s screenings." The festival says that guests with a vaccine card will be given a wristband to wear during the festival.

Go to fantasticfest.com to see the full lineup and all safety information.