With the Fantasia film festival kicking off later this month, let’s take a look at the top ten recommended films from what we’ve already been lucky enough to see – then in our next post we’ll sneak a peek at what else we’re most anticipating from the fest’!
Top Ten Fantasia 2022 Recs (that we’ve already seen):
10. Speak No Evil (dir: Christian Tafdrup)
Sometimes it’s said that Danes can be pains – but in comparison the Dutch are really too much! One couple takes up an invitation to meet another couple they met on holiday. But how much do they really know about them? Tafdrup’s excruciating horror of manners closes like a trap on its overly polite victims.
9. Hyperchondriac (dir: Addison Heimann)
A very effective depiction of a descent into schizophrenic psychosis, conveying the horror of the symptoms. It reminded me of Evelyn Waugh’s The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, and like that book it announces itself has being Based On A Real Breakdown, drawing strength from its focus on truthfully documenting a lived experience.
8. Sissy (dirs: Kane Senes & Hannah Barlow)
Once this kicks into high gear it’s so much fun. Senes and Barlow’s incisive and well-observed portrayal of toxic female-frenemy relationships is peppered with some nice kills in the second half – and there’s great character work from Aisha Dee in the titular role.
7. Dark Glasses (dir: Dario Argento)
The Master of Giallo is back, with his best work since 2001’s Sleepless. Yes, this is the best Argento in over twenty years. His sly sense of humour really clicks here, and his canny knack for shot selection still plays dividends after all these years. When a sex worker, escaping from a mysterious stalker, accidentally kills a Chinese couple in a motor accident, she ends up blind – and in possession of the couple’s son. But can our brave pair overcome their differences to evade the killer’s advances? Wildly nonsensical, in the best way.
6. Piggy (dir: Carlota Pereda)
A plus-size heroine bonds with the local serial killer who seems to be targeting everyone but her. Take that, skinny girls! Piggy was one of the best horror shorts of recent years, and I’m glad that it’s expansion into a feature is successful. And its another one to add to the “suffocating mother” horror pile, too!
5. Freaks Out (dir: Gabriele Mainetti)
Hellboy meets X-Men meets Inglorious Barsterds. Embrace otherness, indeed! Starring Franz Rogowski (Transit, Undine) as a Nazi mutant-hunter with a Liberace-style piano act. Probably the only movie where you’ll see such a character.
4. Deadstream (dirs: Joseph & Vanessa Winter)
Can our perpetually nervous hero stay the night in an abandoned haunted house, while livestreaming the whole thing to his fans? The Evil Dead of found-footage style “annoying YouTuber” movies – and a strong crowd-pleaser that gets better and funnier as it gets more hysterical.
3. Resurrection (dir: Andrew Semans)
Margaret’s (Rebecca Hall) neat life, spent maintaining a successful career and looking after her daughter, is horribly destabilised when she notices that a mysterious figure from her past (Tim Roth) has seemingly reappeared. The SUPERB double team of Hall and Roth sell the hell out of this increasingly bonkers and disturbing tale. And they manage to pull it off! And yes. I’m team #ThatEnding, though I’m sure it will have its haters.
2. The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future (dir: Francisca Alegria)
In a polluted river in the south of Chile, dead fish are rising to the surface… then one day, the long-dead Magdalena rises up with them, gasps for air, and begins to journey through the forest in search of her family. Very unexpectedly, this film hit me as being somehow a riff on the Alan Moore run on Swamp Thing, by way of Apichatpong Weerasethakul. I absolutely adored it. Also, it features a river ghost whose motto seems to be ‘trans rights, and don’t forget to party’ and frankly that’s a message we all need to hear. Magical realism done right!
1. Bodies, Bodies, Bodies (dir: Halina Reijn)
In this slashy spin on classic whodunnits, particularly And Then There Were None, a group of well-heeled Gen-Z poseurs gather for a hurricane-watching party at daddy’s summer house. But despite their impeccable politics, they soon turn on each other once the bodies start hitting the floor. Dutch director Reijin casts a wry outsider’s eye on the combative social etiquette of liberal American youth. Plus, it contains a timely reminder that making a podcast takes A LOT OF EFFORT!! You have to invite guests and make a GOOGLE CALENDAR!! Rachel Sennott nation rise up!