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|Written by Joe Lipsett|
|Friday, 15 July 2011 00:00|
Each year I look forward to the month of July for one principle reason: the return of the Fantasia Film Festival. The festival, scheduled to take place July 14 - August 7, 2011, in Montreal, will this year celebrate its fifteenth anniversary; 15 years of showcasing science fiction, horror, and foreign films, many of them making their North American or Canadian debut.
For me, Fantasia is an opportunity to screen a variety of films that will likely never be seen on Canadian screens. Several of them, in fact, may never be released on DVD, so this may be the only chance to see them.
As always, I'll have a report on my experiences after the festival, but this year I wanted to highlight a few films in the event anyone is considering making a quick trip up to Montreal. Given the chance to screen any film, here are my top 5 (in no particular order):
1) Detention (Kahn 2011) -- USA: Described by several reviewers as "the film Scream 4 wished it was," this slasher-comedy hybrid has generated buzz for its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, throwing in time travel, teen romance, and a grizzly bear. It's supposedly quite frenetic and not always successful, but it sounds like a hoot. Screens: Friday, July 22 @ 9:10pm
2) The Woman (McKee 2011) -- USA: This film has been high on my list since it made waves at the Sundance film festival when an audience member walked out in an angry tirade. McKee is a horror genre fave -- if you haven't seen May, definitely check it out -- and here he's working with some pretty sensitive material with a story about a husband who brings home a feral woman to his wife in order to "break" her. Ranks high on the controversy meter. Screens: Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 @ 9:45pm
3) Kidnapped (Vivas 2010) -- Spain: Home invasion horror films have been quite popular the last few years, and this entry from Spain looks to challenge dominant French entries such as Inside and Ils (remade stateside more-or-less as The Strangers with Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman). Already making waves for its dramatic tension and violence, the film is also notable for featuring only a dozen edits, meaning the whole film is a series of single takes wherein the camera Just. Keeps. Shooting. Hardcore. Screens: Monday, August 1 @ 7:15pm & Tuesday, August 2 @ 3pm
4) The Troll Hunter (Ovredal 2010) -- Norway: Not all of the films that screen at Fantasia are frightening or gory. Several of them are comedies, including this mockumentary creature comedy about a trio of student filmmakers who tag along with a poacher on the hunt for trolls. Sounds silly, entertaining and apparently with great special effects, this should be a great crowd pleaser. Screens: Sunday, July 17 @ 9:45pm & Tuesday, July 19 @ 3pm
5) Attack the Block (Cornish 2011) - UK: From what I can tell, this is the film to see at this year's festival, so I'm incredibly disappointed that I'll miss it. Cornish is a friend of horror-comedy director Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead fame), and this story of London street kids who battle vicious alien invaders is supposedly amazing: hilarious, scary, and featuring some of the most challenging British accents (in slang!) in quite some time. If you decide to see only one film at Fantasia, it should be this one. Screens: Friday, July 15 @ 9:40pm
Quick Pick: The Silence (bo Odar 2010) -- Germany: Unlike the other picks, I haven't heard anything about this film save the description Fantasia provides. But it sounds interesting and powerful. The film tells the story of two child murders separated by 23 years and involves both the victims and criminals from the first crime, as well as the current crime. Apparently the director is coming off a Slamdance award-winning film and was named one of ten directors to watch in 2010 by Variety.
The full Fantasia schedule can be found here. Look for my reviews in the first week of August.