Fantasia 2021 Curtain Raiser: This is What We're Watching, so You Should Watch Them Too
That's a bit of a presumptive title there isn't it? I mean, seriously, there are so many great titles at this year's Fantasia, how do you choose? Another man's junk yadda yadda, right?
The great thing is, Fantasia is three weeks long so you have all the time in the world, all the time in a world with a ten day half life, to watch as much of the lineup as you can. And with over a hundred films in this year's lineup there is no shortage of genre gems to be watched.
Still, if our word carries any weight and you wanted our opinion on what you shouldn't definitely miss this year then consider films we are definitely going to watch during this year's festival.
It's going to be tough, not being in Montreal once again, but we'll find a way, one movie at a time.
The Feast (UK, Lee Haven Jones) Set in the idyllic Welsh countryside, Lee Haven Jones debut feature The Feast is a stunner of a film. A rare film shot entirely in the Welsh language, The Feast tackles greed, eco-terror, folk horror, and numerous other hot button issues without ever feeling preachy. It gets its razor sharp claws under your skin very slowly before violently ripping them through your flesh from the inside out, becoming one of the goriest (and prettiest) films of the year. Do not miss it.
The Great Yokai War: Guardians (Japan, Miike Takashi) What would Fantasia be without the latest from Japanese iconoclast Miike Takashi? This time, it's a long overdue sequel to his 2006 family fantasy, The Great Yokai war, The Great Yokai War: Guardians. Much in the spirit of the earlier films, Guardians takes a child's eye view as a young boy must help stop a potential disaster from destroying Tokyo with help from some new Yokai pals. Kid-friendly destruction, crazy creative monsters, and a ton of goofiness is bound to ensue. Good or bad (Miike is capable on extremes on both ends), The Great Yokai War: Guardians doesn't look like it'll be boring.
King Car (Brazil, Renata Pinheiro) I'm going to be honest here, I have very little idea what King Car is about, but it sounds fucking weird and that's enough to pique my interest. Renata Pinheiro's film is about a boy who can talk to cars, a revolutionary performance artist, and a sentient car of the future, and it looks awesome. I'm in.
The Sadness (Taiwan, Rob Jabbaz) After last year's TIFF splatterfest Get the Hell Out, I'm all in for Taiwanese gorefests, and Rob Jabbaz's The Sadness has definitely raised the eyebrows of the horror community since the first images and descriptions hit the web. When a pandemic of violence hits the island nation, it's every person for themselves as people's most violent inner whispers become shouts that turn Taiwan into a nightmare horrorscape. A couple on opposites sides of the city attempt to reunite, but they'll have to run the ultimate gauntlet to do it. Gory as hell, transgressive as hell, sign me the fuck up.
Coming Home in the Dark (New Zealand, James Ashcroft) There's bleak, and then there is BLEAK. James Ashcroft's Sundance surprise Coming Home in the Dark is definitely in the latter category. When a family is interrupted mid-holiday by a pair of scruffy looking hooligans, things quickly go very badly. Within the first ten minutes, Coming Home in the Dark makes is perfectly clear that it is not here to make you feel good, and with every passing moment is twists the knife a little further in what is one of the most harrowing film experiences of the last few years. If you though Wolf Creek was a rough watch, gird your loins, this one is those of us with guts of steel only.