For the 26th year, Fantasia International Film Festival is kicking off tonight in Montreal. So it makes sense that I give you a lovely little list of feature films to keep an eye out on for the next couple of weeks. I tried to whittle it down to 10, but simply couldn’t, so enjoy the 17!
Bodies Bodies Bodies
Towards the end of a drunk drug fuelled party a group begin to play the game Bodies Bodies Bodies (effectively a real life Among Us), where a member of the group is the “murderer” and needs to be caught before there is no one left. When the “murders” become all too real can our group find the killer until it is all too late?
What better film to start off with than a good old black comedy slasher where our characters cannot get any phone or internet service? Starring Amandla Stenberg, Rachel Sennot, Maria Bakalova and the always dependable Lee Pace, it is hard to imagine this not being a home run of a film. From reports there is an awful lot to love here, so make sure you catch it!
Dans Ma Peau (In My Skin, 20th Anniversary Screening)
Esther accidentally cuts her leg one night and becomes more fascinated about her own body, quickly barrelling down a road she cannot return from.
Not all choices are going to be new releases as you can see with the second choice. Dans Ma Peau is actually often forgotten for how horribly effective it was and when you see lists of New French Extremity films, this is oddly not mentioned as often as it should be. What actually surprises most about this film is how well it handles the topics covered. This isn’t just a body horror film, there is something more to it and if it was released today, it would probably get as much praise as a Julia Ducournau film. An essential watch.
After being blinded in a car accident involving a murderous driver, sex worker Diana and fellow survivor Chin must find a way to escape their attacker before they can finish the job.
Why is there interest in this other than the interesting synopsis you ask? Well how about that this is the first Dario Argento film in over a decade? A wonderful return to the Giallo genre with hints that the legendary director has kept some sentimentality from previous films. One to watch out for.
Octogenarian who enters into a state of dementia after the sudden suicide of his wife, sparking a series of paranormal events that will put his family’s lives at risk.
Potentially this years Relic, it seems as if we have a horror film that has a lot more residing under the surface with Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez focusing on the pain and the humiliation that some elderly people feel when they cannot be independent. The Elderly is a film that builds and builds to an excruciatingly uncomfortable level.
Fast and Feel Love
When a world champion of sport stacking is dumped by his long-time girlfriend, he has to learn basic adulting skills in order to live alone and take care of himself.
Now for something a little different from Thailand, a film that could so easily go down the serious drama route, but happily decides to skip along with a truck full of comedy instead. With homages a plenty throughout Fast and Feel Love, this could easily be your favourite coming of age (even if said age is 30) film of 2022.
A tough-as-nails cop teams up with an undercover agent to shut down a sinister mobster and his crew.
As John Woo is getting his much deserved Career Achievement Award at this years festival, it feels right that one of his films should be on the list no? What better film to recommend a rewatch or for those lucky enough a first watch of the classic Hard Boiled, an unforgettable film.
Heaven: To The Land of Happiness
Two men with incurable diseases, one a prisoner, the other a man who cannot afford his potentially life saving medication find eachother in the most chaotic of circumstances. On the run from police and a gang, the duo must find a way to help one another achieve their aims.
From top to bottom there is a hell of a lot going for Heaven: To The Land of Happiness, starring Old-Boys Choi Min-sik, The Host’s Parl Hae-il and written and directed by The Housemaid’s Im Sang-soo, there is little chance that this will be a bad film. It looks very much like a film that will have us by the heartstrings often.
Island of Lost Girls
Three young sisters live in a house waiting to be adopted, and more importantly, not to be separated. With nothing left to lose, they decide to take a day off and escape to the beach. Following an incident, the three youngsters find themselves trapped in a sea cave filled with crashing waves, hundreds of sea lions and monstrous elephant seals.
Want to know the best thing about Fantasia International Film Festival? While it may have endless graphic genre films, they also make sure to include films like Island of Lost Girls. A family film that brings just as much suspense as you would want from something far more adult. The Schmidt’s have form in this arena and they return again to surprise and thrill audiences.
Research Scientist Dr. Stevenson has discovered that “ghosts” are demonstrably real, in that existence continues beyond the end of physical life. Through her groundbreaking technology, deceased persons can now be identified and tracked in the afterlife, but she needs volunteers…
Told to be equal parts a ghost story, misfit road movie and a tragicomedy, Next Exit is a film that is going to tick an awful lot of boxes. A film that reminds me a little bit of the excellent A Ghost Waits in its themes. Another film that will have you grabbing for the tissues as this appears to be a film rife with heart break for audiences.
Over the rainbow and underneath the surface, the story of David Lynch and The Wizard of Oz.
Alexandre O. Philippe is a filmmaker who no matter what he creates, he will automatically have me ready and willing to watch. His recent documentaries The Taking and Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist are must watches. He is a documentarian who loves the finer details of his subjects and here he is ready to show us just how influenced Lynch has been with the classic film.
The Pez Outlaw
Steve Glew spent the 1990s smuggling rare pez dispensers into the USA from Eastern Europe, making millions of dollars. It was all magical until his arch-nemesis, The Pezident decided to destroy him.
It wouldn’t really be Fantasia without a quirky but wholly engrossing documentary would it? There is going to be a lot of love thrown at The Pez Outlaw and from reports, it is well earned. Your main concern will be making sure that you do not get wrapped up in the Pez mania yourself.
Sumi and her polar-bear mother live in a snow-laden, post-apocalyptic world. Guiding them is the north star Polaris as they travel to where it shines the brightest, but their journey is interrupted by roving bands of warrior women. Captured and separated from her mother she must get ready to defend herself in the wilds of this wintery land.
An all female wintery Mad-Max should be enough to get you through the doors on this one. With it opening the festival, that should tell you all you need to know about how good Polaris is. Little else needs to be said about this one, make sure you do not miss this one.
Margaret’s life is in order. She is capable, disciplined, and successful. Everything is under control. That is, until David returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret’s past.
A film that has already been heavy with buzz since it premiered earlier in the year at other festivals, Resurrection is Rebecca Hall and Tim Roth at their finest. Andrew Semans film has you on edge throughout.
Teen best friends Cecilia and Emma, after a decade run into each other. Cecilia is invited on Emma’s bachelorette weekend where she gets stuck in a remote cabin with her high school bully with a taste for revenge.
Sissy grabs ahold of you from an early point and even when the film fires off into a direction you wouldn’t expect from it, it works. This is a film that has its cake and eats it, full of social criticism, it knows what it is doing, all we have to do is sit back and enjoy. Already picked up by Shudder, it shouldn’t be too long before everyone see’s this one. Make sure you are one of the first.
Speak No Evil
A Danish family visits a Dutch family they met on a holiday. What was supposed to be an idyllic weekend slowly starts unraveling as the Danes try to stay polite in the face of unpleasantness.
One of the things that occasionally happens during a holiday is that you meet people and become fast friends as you experience a new place together. You add each other on Facebook and weirdly stalk eachothers lives for the rest of time. But what happens when you decide to visit those friends at their home and find out they’re not exactly the same people you thought they were. Another film that lures you in, even if at times the comedic moments are still uncomfortable Christian Tafdrup makes sure to ramp up the tension in the brutalist of manners.
We Might As Well Be Dead
A tower block on the edge of a forest, people hoping to join the building’s community as it is one of the last bastions of civilization in a world that has fallen apart.
Natalia Sinelnikova has put the marker down immediately that she is a filmmaker to keep an eye on with her fantastic debut. Even just by watching the 50 second trailer you feel the atmosphere she and cinematographer Jan Mayntz have conjured up together. From reports this is a film that takes the social housing crisis happening throughout the world and social integration. Guaranteed to be a standout film from the festival.
The Walking Liberty
Born at the end of the world, quick-tempered Yaya and giant, slow-witted Lennie follow their own free-spirited code, and survive off what the jungle provides. But the wily pair of orphaned teenagers are not alone in the dense rainforest that has swallowed what was once Naples, Italy.
An eco-pocalyptic animation that will have you entranced by its beauty. There are multiple animations (as always) at the festival this year, but from trailers alone, this one just grabbed me the most. An Italian animation that will strike a chord with everyone, not one to be missed.
Special shout outs to films like My Grandfather’s Demons, Glorious and The Mole Song. Especially The Mole Song, it feels weird not to suggest to watch a new Takeshi Miike film, but come on, we all knew we were going to watch it anyway! This festival looks as if it will be something special with something for everyone, so don’t miss out.
All information about the festival can be found here.
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