What’s on tap for today?
Friday July 13, 2018 marks the official kickoff of the Fantasia Film Festival which ends on August 2, 2018. I’ve been fortunate enough to cover the films featured in the Montreal festival for the last four years and like each year before it the titles just keep getting more and more interesting. Last year I was able to take in titles that ended up being some of my favorite genre offerings of the year (Tragedy Girls and Better Watch Out). So before we press start on this year’s insanity, lets take a look at some of the titles I’m most looking forward to (hopefully) deliver some reviews for as the fest gets under way! Why 17? I dunno, cause it’s not the standard 10 and its an odd number which just seemed like the right thing to do. Also, I miscounted when I did all the write-ups (since I lumped 3 into one paragraph) and didn’t feel like taking two of them off the list–sooo yeah.
Anna and the Apocalypse
Say zombies and you have my attention–then hit me with musical and I start to pull back a bit. However, the buzz for this one out of Sundance is hard to ignore. Plus it’s a horror christmas movie which always excites me. So paint me optimistic with a touch a caution as we await to see if this is a cult classic in the making and not just the classic tune of festival hype.
Danny McBride as a schluby killer? How can you not be in. Plus long time assistant director Jonathan Watson makes his debut as the big dog as McBride stars as Sonny, an unhinged accidental killer forced to bend the rules a bit when an unfortunate single mother/realtor witnesses Sonny totally murdering another realtor. Billed as the perfect amount of dark comedy and violence, there’s no way I’m not down for this.
I don’t know much about Bodied beyond that it’s rap/hip hop based and is directed by Joseph Kahn, the guy who’s last two more publicized projects (the crazy Power/Rangers short and the insane teen sci-fi horror comedy Detention) are criminally underrated. To me this appears to be somewhat of a college set funnier version of 8-Mile and even if that’s all it turns out to be, there’s nothin’ wrong with that.
An undead girl and a blind boy–sounds like just your typical happily ever after children’s bedtime story, right? Probably not. Like most of Fantasia’s lineup I enjoy going into these with as little preconceptions as possible, but if the synopsis is any indication I think we’re in for what could be a powerful look at abuse in the confines of a angst teen horror, hence why I can’t help but be intrigued to check this one out.
The Field Guide to Evil
Anthologies have attempted an admirable comeback in the last decade or so, though most barely scratch the surface of a classic such as Creepshow. I’m not saying The Field Guide to Evil is going to rival such a classic, but one that explores our fears of folklore and myths sounds like at the very least to be a worthwhile excursion with the potential to strike a chord amongst the anthology lovers.
I never saw Beyond the Black Rainbow, but it’s style that I’ve seen in passing on clips and trailers always did impress me. Similarly the retro aesthetic within the recently released trailer for Mandy has a distinct throwback vibe that can not be ignored. Plus, we get full on crazy Cage in a hilariously cheesy looking chainsaw fight. If you’re not buying tickets after reading that, then there’s not much more I can do to get you excited for that one.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot
You just read the title right? I think this is a classic case of ’nuff said.
Think The Sixth Sense meets The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Following a mortician who can speak to the dead and often uses the secrets they tell him to his benefit. Until he learns a little something about people close to him and acts on that knowledge cursing him and those he loves. I’m all about a good creepy morgue movie and let’s face it–deep seeded family secrets are all too relatable to each and every one of us.
Profile/Searching/Unfriended: Dark Web
The emergence and success of Unfriended (which premiered at Fantasia a few years back as Cybernatural) has lead to a slew of often very terrible clones. I’m hoping that’s not the case with the trio screening as this year’s Fantasia. Unfriended was produced by Timur Bekmambetov and he’s stepped in to deliver a twist on the online thriller of his own as an online journalist goes undercover and infiltrated the heavy propaganda of the Islamic State and is pulled in deeper and deeper by an ISIS recruiter. The we have John Cho coming on board as a father searching for his missing daughter using clues from her laptop to track her down. Lastly we return to the Unfriended verse as a slew of 20 something’s log in for a digital game night only to be plunged into a terrifying game for others enjoyment within the darkest corners of the web. A varying degree of online terror has me intrigued to say the least.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
It’s been SO long since I’ve seen those creepy little puppets cutting people up and the prospect of getting to do so again with an amped up gore-meter has me giddy with excitement. The plot is essentially a down on his luck dude (the always awesome Thomas Lennon) who comes across a doll once owned by his dead brother and decided to take it to a convention with intent to sell. Convention goers are meat for the fodder for the Toulon death dolls to slash and dash with delight. This is gonna be so much fun.
Some teen punks find themselves targets for a park ranger who might be slightly unhinged. That’s about all I know at this point, but the last time I saw punks being lead into a slaughter was Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room. Realistically, I’m not expecting The Ranger to top one of my absolute favorite movies of the last 5-10 years, but I’m hoping at least for some fun punkish thrills.
Summer of ’84
When I saw what the trio of Canadian filmmakers who go by RKSS (Roadkill Superstar) did with Turbo Kid having such limited means, I was down for whatever else they had in store for me. Granted I don’t know if what I expected was a dialed back (special effect and concept wise) serial killer flick, but I’m game. Give me more of that synth heavy dread inducing suspense and that’s all I need RKSS and I’m more than ready for what you’ve got in store for me.
Tales From the Hood 2
Browsing the titles for Fantasia I certainly did not expect to see this in there. As a nostalgic heavy movie watcher with a unreasonable love for the original Tales From the Hood, I can’t help but feel a driving force shoving me toward this film. 23 years removes from the original isn’t telling of a property that’s stale, as there’s plenty more to be mined from the horror of ethnic struggles and cultural demons to be explored and that’s exactly what I’m pumped to see.
Under the Silver Lake
It Follows was my favorite movie the year it was released. From that moment I was in, no questions asked, for David Robert Mitchell’s next flick. Again, I don’t know if Under the Silver Lake is what I would have assumed I was going to get, but I’m one to enter everything with an open mind, and I’m hoping to find something pretty interesting under that silver lake.
The Witch in the Window
That’s what I call my neighbor across the street as she’s glaring at my unkempt lawn. Okay, not really, but again like many Fantasia flicks I know very little about this one as well. I know it comes from one of the two directors who brought us Yellowbrickroad and We Go On, one of which I was more impressed with than the other. A good witch tale is always on the docket for me if available, though I think we’re talking more ghost story than straight up witch shenanigans here. Either way, if it’s spooky I’m there with a bell on.