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Justin Kelly's Welcome the Stranger

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated American Indie Films of 2018: #97. Justin Kelly’s Welcome the Stranger

Welcome the Stranger

Currently sitting on a pair of feature film items waiting for a film festival release, filmmaker Justin Kelly had his feature debut I Am Michael (review) break into the 2015 edition of the Sundance Film Festival and quickly followed that up with 2016’s King Cobra. JT Leroy is easily on several folks wish list, but it’s this misfit item with Caleb Landry Jones and Riley Keough in Welcome the Stranger that have we think might be a fun side dish of noir.

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Alice (Abbey Lee) arrives unannounced at her estranged brother Ethan’s house in an attempt to reconcile, but bizarre visions, the return of his strange girlfriend (Riley Keough) and Alice’s paranoia and suspicion force the siblings to cling onto reality amidst mysterious circumstances. Production began back in July of 2016 in Kingston, New York and as we previously mentioned in our predictions piece for Sundance, this counts as Keough’s first producer credit. This might be one of our favorite guilty pleasures for this new year.

Release Date/Prediction: Back in 2016, the Tribeca Film Festival premiered King Cobra, so we’re thinking this will be the lieu for Welcome the Stranger.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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