4 Thrilling Movies That Left Us Disappointed at This Year's Fantasia Film Festival
Adulting can really put a damper on my schedule and so this year I was unfortunately not able to make it out to as many Fantasia Film Festival movies as I’d hoped. It is with great sadness that I review the little amount of films I did see, wishing there would’ve been time for more.
The recent edition of the festival brought in a great selection of movies, from widely anticipated ones like Attack on Titan and Antman to smaller international genre flicks that were a pleasant surprise to watch. I had the chance to watch four movies, each with very different and intriguing plotlines. Some were a hit and some were a miss but all in all it was fun to try my luck and expand my cinematic journey.
An Irish horror/thriller movie from the minds of director David Keating and screenplay writer Brendan McCarthy. This movie had all the ingredients to be scary as fuck but a lot of the times I was just sitting in the theatre like:
*Disclaimer: Hair is not actually this awesome*
Cold and eerie town? Check. Spunky teenager with no mother figure? Check. Creepy but seductive and enticing witch lady? Check. Underage sex? You betcha. Cherry tree is set around the legends of a coven of witches who were basically Satan worshipers. Cut to current day and age where we find young Faith (spunky teen), desperate to save her father who’s battling leukemia. “Sure no problem”, says Sissy (enticing witch lady), her high school hockey coach. “All you gotta do is have a demon baby, fuck shit up around you, get a few people killed and watch my skin peel off my body.” Ultimately I felt the movie didn’t push the envelope in terms of what the plotline offered.
This movie was more like a recorded simulation test and less like your traditional type of film. It opens with stunning high definition quality shots of various natural settings and cuts to shots of inside a laboratory. A stern yet docile narrator begins his speech. “No alien has ever been observed.” The Visit was created by documentary filmmaker Michael Madsen and its scenario gives us a look as to what would happen if alien life came to visit earth.
Although it helps ask important questions like would society be ready and how important will it be for our government to keep everyone calm, the movie offers a very focused point of view on the fictional situation. Interviews with scientists, U.N representatives and leaders in various fields were set up where the person was able to ask questions to the alien as the audience watched everything from its eyes. It would have been interesting to see an interaction with the public. The visuals and effects heavily made up for the lack of actual events happening. I also added extra points for the fact they used Bowie’s Space Oddity at the end of the film.
After the last two movies I saw fell a bit short of the mark for me, I was really excited for this next one. Set in Bailey Downs, the original town from John Fawcett’s Ginger Snaps, the movie is split into four storylines and cameo’s the hilarious William Shatner as a loveable drunk radio host. Zombie elves, murderous teenage ghosts, creepy “changelings” and Krampus the Christmas Devil; this movie was hilarious, thrilling and very well made. The development and switches between stories was seamless. I particularly enjoyed the buildup in the story of Molly and her two friends getting locked in their school’s restricted area and the surprising twist in Santa’s fight against the walking dead elves. From the moment it started (the opening credits brought applauds from the crowd) you could tell A Christmas Horror Story was going to be a fun ride.
Last but not least for me was Canadian horror/thriller The Demolisher. I was lucky enough to get to review it from the comfort of my own home after being sent a link. The movie starts innocently enough but you can sense an ominous undertone. It takes a while for someone to talk and when they do it isn’t the main character, dark and quiet Bruce, but a young woman talking in what seems to be a therapy group. Once Bruce does say anything, we quickly learn he’s not a happy guy. Him and his wife Samantha seem to be in a loathing nurturing relationship for one another. The acting was a little over done at times but I enjoyed the use of actions speak louder than words approach the film took. There was very little dialogue so things relied heavily on body language. I kept having flashbacks of Gosling’s very bloody Drive as Bruce would have his fits of rage. The ending fell a little short as I was hoping for more development within the story and characters.