Montreal, Quebec, is home to one of the biggest and most anticipated film festivals every year: the Fantasia Film Festival. This year finds its line-up filled with some hidden gems, some previous festival greats, and a sense of adventure, as genre films of all kinds find their way onto the fest’s screens.
Let’s dig into some of the highlights of the line-up:
A success at Sundance and South by Southwest, Little Monsters stars Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, and Josh Gad in a film about a school trip becoming a nightmare as a zombie outbreak rages on.
Directed by Abe Forsythe, Little Monsters promises to mix comedy and horror, guts and heart, the perfect combinations for a big hit at the festival.
With the potential to be one of the biggest horror films of the year, The Lodge boasts the English language debut of Veronika Franz and Sergio Casci of Goodnight Mommy (2014) fame. With a talented cast that includes Richard Armitage, Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, and Alicia Silverstone, the movie is sure to chill you to the bone as the intensity turns up.
Phantom of the Paradise
An early Brian De Palma film returns for its 45th anniversary, Phantom of the Paradise (1974) brings its crazed and beautiful imagery, strange and alluring style, and catchy and wonderful tunes to the festival. The event will be hosted by actor/composer Paul Williams (Swan himself) and producer Edward R. Pressman.
It’s one that can’t be missed, holding up over the years with De Palma’s signature filmmaking, dedicated performances from William Finley and Jessica Harper, and a soundtrack most films would die for.
Get sucked back into the Ringu franchise as a new entry finds its way into the festival’s lineup. Sadako, directed by Hideo Nakata (Ringu, 1998), looks to be a faithful continuation of the hit franchise, combining terrifying visuals and killer sound to make for a return the series deserves.
Sadako is the Opening Film of the festival.
The Art of Self-Defense
Riley Stearns, director of the fantastic film Faults (2014), brings his new film, The Art of Self-Defense, to the festival. The movie takes a mugging and uses it to transform someone meek into the exact thing they loathe, a smart take on a traumatic event changing someone as they look internally rather than at the world around them. It does so by going down a dark and disturbing path, which makes the film all the more interesting.
The Art of Self-Defense stars Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, and Imogen Poots, and looks to be a worthwhile and exciting second feature from Stearns.
The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil
Action, crime, and serial killer film all in one, The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil looks to bring enough for all genre fans as a potential serial killer causes a strange pact between cob and gangster in order to stop him.
Coming out of Cannes, the film, directed by Lee Won-tae and starring Don Lee, Kim Moo-yul, and Kim Sung-kyu, settles on a level of black humor and action to set up another Korean hit.
The Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 11 – August 1. For information and the schedule, check out the Fantasia website here.