The Sundance Film Festival kicked off with a bang as the genre mashup anthology film, Freaky Tales, bowed to a ravenously enthusiastic audience that received it Friday evening at the Eccles Theater in Park City for the prime slot of opening night. It was a screening that had to turn many away because of the incredibly large crowd turnout.

Freaky Tales is a return to Sundance and indies for directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who before directing 2019’s Marvel flick Captain Marvel, helmed movies such as Sundance selection Half Nelson.

The film is set in Oakland in 1987 and has a format of chapters that are interconnected and tied together. It has a sprawling ensemble that includes Pedro Pascal, Jay Ellis, Normani, Dominique Thorne, Ben Mendelsohn, Jack Champion, Ji-Young Yoo and the late Angus Cloud. The indie charm and what may be learnings from making a blockbuster film works out for Boden and Fleck, who bring everything including ’80s comedy, kung-fu films, slashers, sci-fi paranoia and more to the project. Champion and Yoo bust up Nazis, Normani and Thorne are Bay Area rapstresses, Pascal is a fixer of sorts who looking to get out of the biz and Ellis is a fictional version of NBA star Sleepy Floyd who…also murders some Nazis in what will probably be some of the most thrilling scenes in cinema for the year.

The film hits when it needs to the most and puts all of the stories together in a way that feels organic and not muddled. It only helps that the performances, from Ellis’ ass-kicking, to Normani and Thorne’s comedic timing and charm, to Pascal’s brooding venegeance with a big dose of heart– they all land and then some. There’s also a huge cameo from an iconic actor sure to make audiences yell. All of the fictional occurrences that take place in the film surround real-life events, including the Warriors’ iconic win over the Lakers, the Nazi wave that came over the Bay, the rise of Oakland in hip-hop and more. And each moment has a classic film reference as well.

The movie is nostalgia-driven and full of Bay Area references, from music to landmarks and more. As the film is in part inspired by his song, Too $hort serves as an executive producer, narrates the film, appears in the film with a cameo and even has a fictional version of himself in the film, portrayed by Symba.

As with the big and splashy Sundance titles, prospective buyers were in the audience for the premiere, and it seems well-suited to be a hit for a streamer or the A24/Neon-ish treatment.