The 26th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival is almost upon us...
...With Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival beginning on July 14th and running through August 3rd, that means attendees will have a bevy of genre films to feast their eyes on soon, and so I decided to round them up for you fellow film ghouls below! From A24's slasher flick Bodies Bodies Bodies to the return of Dario Argento and his first feature in a decade, Dark Glasses, a new entry in the Ringu saga entitled Sadako DX and so much more, this is one festival horror fans do not want to miss!
Check out the lineup of horror films below, and get your tickers to the festival here (tickets become available July 9th).
All Jacked Up and Full of Worms
Directed by: Alex Phillipp
A microbudget flick with a vastly creative design and twisted story, Alex Philipp’s debut feature ALL JACKED UP AND FULL OF WORMS is a squirmy trip into the depths of arthouse horror cinema. A cavalcade of upcoming performers, as flamboyant and daring as John Waters’ dreamlanders, bring a vibrating excess to their wormhead characters. Inspired by Cassavetes and Hennenlotter, Philips delivers a wriggling, drug-induced creature feature nightmare, TRAINSPOTTING meets BRAIN DAMAGE with a dash of VIDEODROME. Underground filmmaking at its best for a ride to hell. Become one with the dirt! Realise your full potential! Nothing is real and everything is permitted. World Premiere.
Bodies Bodies Bodies
Directed by: Halina Reijn
Screening as part of Fantasia’s closing night events will be Halina Reijn’s wildly entertaining and gloriously twisted BODIES BODIES BODIES. A party game leads to murder when young and wealthy friends gather at a remote family mansion in this instant classic comedy horror joyride that maintains a taut balance of uneasy tension and wicked humor. Starring Amandla Stenberg (THE HATE U GIVE), Maria Bakalova (BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM), Myha’la Herrold (INDUSTRY), Rachel Sennott (SHIVA BABY) and comedy superstar Pete Davidson. Special Screening.
Directed by: Rodrigo Gudino
As the founder and president of Rue Morgue Magazine, Rodrigo Gudiño has lived a life immersed in the horror genre. After many years in publishing, he began directing in 2006 and made his debut feature, THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH, in 2012. Now, In Fantasia's 26th year, he's back with THE BREACH. This adaptation of Canadian horror author Nick Cutter’s novel, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ian Weir, tells of a mysterious and gruesome death in the forests of Northern Ontario and the chaos that follows. Starring Allan Hawco (REPUBLIC OF DOYLE) and Emily Alatalo (SPARE PARTS), audiences can expect tension, plenty of prosthetic gore, and a score by GUNS N’ ROSES guitar great—and the film’s executive producer— Slash. World Premiere.
Final Cut (Coupez!)
Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
After opening this year’s Cannes, FINAL CUT (Coupez!), Michel Hazanavicius’s riotous remake of Shinichirou Ueda’s ONE CUT OF THE DEAD, is coming to North America. Starring Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, and Yoshiko Takehara reprising her beloved role from the original film as a producer, this hilarious ode to the do-or-die spirit of filmmaking is a joy to behold. It is especially noteworthy for the film’s North American journey to be starting at Fantasia, as the festival was among the first to popularize the original Audience Award-winning ONE CUT OF THE DEAD in the West. Poetically, Ueda’s latest, POPRAN, will also be having its North American Premiere at the festival this year. Bet your viewfinder that FINAL CUT is going to bring the house down in cheers. North American Premiere.
Directed by: Jesse Thomas Cook
Director and producer Jesse Thomas Cook delighted audiences with MONSTER BRAWL at Fantasia in 2011, where it was nominated for Best Canadian Feature. He’s now returned to bring Montreal another helping of over-the-top comedy with the World Premiere of CULT HERO. Audiences will meet a control freak Karen realtor who enlists the help of a failed “cult buster” to rescue her husband from the clutches of a dubious self-help leader. Cook catapults the story into the world of cults and washed-up private investigators. Starring Liv Collins (DEADSIGHT), Ry Barrett (THE DEMOLISHER, THE CHAMBER OF TERROR), and writer and actor Tony Burgess (PONTYPOOL, EJECTA), get ready for zany antics, plenty of splatter, and tons of fun when CULT HERO hits your eyes! World Premiere.
Directed by: Dario Argento
A blinded sex worker (Ilenia Pastorelli) finds herself targeted by a psychopath in Dario Argento’s first feature in a decade. Back in the giallo genre, the maestro –who scripted DARK GLASSES with his frequent writing partner Franco Ferrini– eschews the complex plotting of his past murder mysteries to deliver a more stripped-down and focused story of survival in the face of madness. Co-Starring Andrea Gherpelli and Asia Argento. Official Selection: Berlin International Film Festival 2022. Canadian Premiere.
Directed by: Berkley Brady
Berkley Brady’s first horror feature is a suspenseful and gory journey into the darkest corners of our minds. When Joy (Hannah Emily Anderson, JIGSAW, X-MEN: DARK PHEONIX) escapes an abusive relationship, her friend Carmen (Madison Walsh, DON’T SAY ITS NAME) talks her into a retreat for women surviving trauma in the Rocky Mountains with the acclaimed Dr. Dunnely (Kyra Harper, ORPHAN BLACK). As they move deeper into the wilderness and their treatment, Joy thinks her violent ex-boyfriend is out there somewhere, or perhaps something even worse. A part of Cannes’ Fantastic 7 for 2022, DARK NATURE tackles classic survival horror with a modern approach, aided by a terrific ensemble cast. World Premiere.
Directed by: Vanessa Winter and Joseph Winter
Disgraced and demonetized after a public controversy, a washed up Internet personality tries to win back his followers by livestreaming himself spending one night alone in an abandoned haunted house. Unfortunately, he accidentally pisses off a vengeful spirit. A wild, splatstick cross between EVIL DEAD and the most ill-fated livestream imaginable. Official Selection: SXSW 2022. Canadian Premiere.
Directed by: Raul Cerezo and Fernando Gonzalez Gomez
An octogenarian named Manuel (Zorion Eguileor) falls 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. Starting as a grounded drama exploring the indignities of old age, THE ELDERLY gradually snaps off one guardrail after another, building to a crescendo of sheer terror with imagery that can never be unseen. This chilling new vision in Spanish horror from directors Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez (THE PASSENGER) features a heart-stopping lead performance from Eguileor (ALL THE MOONS, THE PLATFORM). World Premiere.
Employee of the Month
Directed by: Veronique Jadin
From the absurd to the heartbreaking, Véronique Jadin covers it all in her darkly comedic and surprisingly bloody look at sexism in office culture. The cast pulls out all the stops with its number of insane and nail-biting moments. Official Selection: Tribeca 2022. Canadian Premiere.
The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra
Directed by: Park Syeyoung
In his feature debut, THE FIFTH THORACIC VERTEBRA, South Korean filmmaker Park Syeyoung tells the story of mould left behind on a mattress after a couple splits. Structured around a countdown to a mysterious birth, the film follows the life of the mould as it slowly grows into a creature that steals the vertebrae of humans who inhabit the bed. A unique monster movie that embraces soft-romanticism and new lifeforms' fuzzy strangeness, THE FIFTH THORACIC VERTEBRA imagines a world of sounds and textures from the perspective of another life form. International Premiere.
Give Me Pity!
Directed by: Amanda Kramer
Sissy St. Claire (Sophie Von Haselberg) has one dream: making it big! In GIVE ME PITY! she hosts an extravagant variety show, full of gossip, glamour, vanity, and a creeping sense of disillusionment. To top it all off, a hooded man lurks in the wings, threatening to shut it all down. Amanda Kramer’s delightful horror-tinged cringe comedy, is a satirical send-up of American television, propelled by the spectacular performance at its center. North American Premiere.
Directed by: Rebekah McKendry
Ryan Kwanten (TRUE BLOOD) and J.K. Simmons (WHIPLASH) star in veteran genre journalist, filmmaker, and podcaster Rebekah McKendry's wickedly funny, mind-bending mix of comedy, horror, sci-fi and gloriously indescribable weirdness. In GLORIOUS, After a breakup, Wes (Kwanten) ends up at a remote rest stop and finds himself locked inside the bathroom with a mysterious figure speaking from an adjacent stall. Soon Wes realizes he has found himself in a nightmare scenario more terrible than he could ever imagine. World Premiere.
Directed by: Andy Mitton
Monique (Gabby Beans, HOUSE OF CARDS) leaves her family quarantine to help a friend who's suffering from terrible nightmares - but she learns too late that the bad dreams are contagious, along with the demon behind them. Award-winning Writer/Director Andy Mitton (THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW, WE GO ON) returns with his unique brand of empathetic supernatural horror. Deeply sad, deeply scary and all-out stunning in its power to probe collective trauma, THE HARBINGER bursts with occult imagination, exploring the anxiety and disorientation of the last few years in ways that only Mitton could. World Premiere.
Directed by: Avalon Fast
In the heat of summer, somewhere remote in the countryside, a group of young women leave their lives behind to inhabit an abandoned cabin surrounded by infinite open fields. The young hive’s social experiment is at first idyllic, though soon “rules” arise and the bad trip begins. A masterclass of DIY cinema that achieves stunning shots with a gritty and powerful aesthetic, HONEYCOMB, from Canada’s Avalon Fast, is a melancholic sensory experience, a fascinating nightmare in the style of THE LORD OF THE FLIES… Come and join her highness of bees! Quebec Premiere.
House of Darkness
Directed by: Neil LaBute
A manipulative player (Justin Long) accompanies his latest potential hook-up (Kate Bosworth) to her enormous gothic mansion and experiences a rather different kind of evening than he’d anticipated in HOUSE OF DARKNESS, a subversive horror-comedy from celebrated playwright and filmmaker Neil LaBute. This riveting film is at once sardonic and severe in its exploration of power games between the sexes, with brilliantly scripted sequences that are an absolute joy to watch. Co-starring Gia Crovatin and Lucy Walters, co-produced by Tim Harms (SOME FREAKS) and Daryl Freimark (GIVING BIRTH TO A BUTTERFLY). International Premiere.
Directed by: Michelle Garza Cervera
Pregnant with her first child and consumed by terrifying visions, Valeria (Natalia Solián) believes that she may be cursed by a supernatural entity. A brilliant and frightening breakout debut as important as Jennifer Kent’s THE BABADOOK, HUESERA firmly announces Mexico’s Michelle Garza Cervera as one of the leading new voices of the genre. A scorching personal vision that asks complex questions with ferocious honesty, this profound, nightmarish blessing comes to Fantasia hot off its award-winning Tribeca launch, and is already one of the most talked-about genre works of the year. Canadian Premiere.
Directed by: Addison Heimann
A young artist’s mentally ill mother re-emerges after a 10-year absence, eroding the foundation of the world he’s created and exposing a dark past of violence he was desperate to keep hidden. Exorcising his own personal history with a bipolar mother, writer-director Heimann brings both authenticity and artistry to this vividly personal horror vision. Official Selection: SXSW 2022. Canadian Premiere.
Directed by: Fabian Forte
Otherworldly demons and magical bloodlines threaten to reshape the world in LEGIONS, an ingenious Argentinian folk horror powder keg by Fabian Forte (DEAD MAN TELLS HIS OWN TALE). While evil forces descend on Argentina, humanity’s best hope, a once-legendary shaman (Germán De Silva, WILD TALES), is confined to an insane asylum, powerless to avert the demonic resurrection. This outlandishly fun horror/comedy is reminiscent of early Álex de la Iglesia, steeped in cultural vibrancy, ritual magic and a cavalcade of creatures. Canadian Premiere.
Directed by: Karim Ouelhaj
Prolific filmmaker Karim Ouelhaj, Méliès d’Or winner for THE FROZEN EYE (2016), brings us his fourth feature and by far his most savage. His sharp examination of societal anguish blends into this genre-adoring film that no horror devotee would dare miss. Carried by the breathtaking performance of lead actor Eline Schumacher and her descent into insanity, MEGALOMANIAC digs deep into the sordid true story of Belgian serial killer, The Butcher of Mons. MEGALOMANIAC is a nightmare of mystical violence anchored in the reality of female persecution and gendered abuse. World Premiere.
Directed by: Nico van den Brink
MOLOCH is the hotly anticipated feature debut from acclaimed Dutch filmmaker Nico van den Brink. This is his follow-up to his award-winning shorts THE BURDEN (currently being adapted into a feature film co-produced by James Wan and Sam Raimi) and SWEET TOOTH, both of which premiered at Fantasia. Drenched in creeping dread, MOLOCH tells the story of 38-year-old Betriek (Sallie Harmsen, BLADE RUNNER 2049) who lives at the edge of a peat bog in the Northern Netherlands. As inexplicable horrors mount, she gradually becomes convinced that she is being hunted by something ancient. International Premiere.
Directed by: Mali Elfman
Through the groundbreaking technology discovered by Dr. Stevenson (Karen Gillan, OCULUS), deceased persons can now be identified and tracked in the afterlife. When a call goes out for volunteers to further her research, two strangers, Rose (Katie Parker, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE) and Teddy (Rahul Kohli, MIDNIGHT MASS), each struggling with personal demons, choose to sign up. Fate has them splitting a rental car, and they embark on a drive across America to meet their destinies. Equal parts ghost story, misfit road movie, speculative science-fiction and tragicomedy, NEXT EXIT is a phenomenal debut from writer-director Mali Elfman. International Premiere.
Directed by: Eduardo Casanova
Eduardo Casanova’s sophomore feature, following 2017’s PIELES (SKINS), LA PIETÀ is a surrealist odyssey into the extremes of codependency, depicting the close relationship between a mother and her son – and the ways that relationship changes when one is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Alternately transgressive, poetic and darkly humorous, the film exists at the spiritual crossroads of Buñuel, Cronenberg and Jodorowsky, with a breathtaking visual design unlike anything out there. Produced by Álex De la Iglesia and Carolina Bang. Official Selection: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2022 (competition "Proxima"). North American Premiere.
Directed by: Carlota Pereda
An incessantly bullied overweight teen finds herself at a gruesome moral crossroads in Carlota Pereda’s horrific and acclaimed feature debut. Official Selection: Sundance 2022. Quebec Premiere.
Directed by: Andrew Semans
Rebecca Hall, Tim Roth and Grace Kaufman star in this fiercely absorbing work of psychological horror that explores the twisting emotions of unresolved trauma. You will be shocked. You will be devastated. You will be left frozen in an absolute daze. Official Selection: Sundance 2022. Canadian Premiere.
Directed by: Hisashi Kimura
The curse has mutated, spreading at great speed via the internet, and there are only a few hours left for skeptical TV personality Ayaka to solve the puzzle. Returning to the world of RINGU, which kicked off the Asian horror renaissance of the ’90s, director Hisashi Kimura's SADAKO DX isn’t afraid to laugh a little at the quirks of the franchise it emerges from while still bringing the horror that hardcore fans crave. From the meta jump scares to the bizarre new appearance of our favourite wraith, SADAKO DX delivers shrieks and chuckles alike. World Premiere.
Directed by: Park Kang
A Korean folkloric belief dictates that parents should never venture down a taboo path when their child is born, as this could lead to a curse called Seire. Woo-jin decides to ignore the danger and attend the funeral of a former lover, which brings chaos to his family. With this first directorial effort, a masterful and oppressive psychological horror film, Park Kang proves that he can work miracles with a limited budget. A tight script,, minimalist music, nuanced acting, and meticulous direction all come together to create this stunning nightmare. North American Premiere.
Directed by: Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes
A former outcast turned popular influencer is forced to face her one-time bully at a bachelorette getaway in this grisly and hugely engaging dark comedy. Official Selection: SXSW 2022. Canadian Premiere.
Directed by: Kyle Edward Ball
With his feature debut SKINAMARINK, director Kyle Edward Ball plunges us into those endless childhood nights in this expressionistic and experimental horror vision. Two children wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing, and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished. In SKINAMARINK, childhood memories become the backdrops of terrible imaginings, and the landscape of increasingly disturbing incidents. World Premiere.
Speak No Evil
Directed by: Christian Tafdrup
The Danish shocker that pulverized Sundance is coming to Canada. Equal parts smart, dark social satire and a masterclass of dread-building, this singularly squirm-inducing nightmare is going to stay with you for years. Official Selection: Göteborg Film Festival 2022. Canadian Premiere.
Directed by: Carter Smith
Beloved genre director and Fantasia alumnus Carter Smith (THE RUINS, BUGCRUSH), returns to the roots of his bug-focused debut with the extreme piece of queer body horror SWALLOWED, starring Jena Malone (NEON DEMON, THE HUNGER GAMES) and a flamboyant Mark Patton (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE). Set in a remote township on the border of Maine and Canada, this creepy-crawly-fable of survival and heartwarming friendship is as delightfully grotesque and suspenseful as it is compelling and unsettling. To be devoured without moderation. International Premiere.
By Matt Konopka