We begin our coverage of Fantasia Film Festival 2021 with a list of the films we can’t wait to see…
Longtime readers of the site will know that one of our favorite film festivals each year takes place in beautiful Montreal, Canada over three full weeks. From the amazing people running the whole shebang to the wide range of films shown to the incredible city itself, we love the Fantasia Film Festival. Like most other fests, they moved their focus into a virtual setting last year while the world dealt with the pandemic, and since we can’t get our collective shit together as a species and the pandemic rages on, they’re staying online for 2021 too. We’re hopeful that we’ll get to return to the fest in person next year, but for now, we’re excited to check out its always eclectic offerings online as the fest celebrates its 25th year.
Brianna Zigler and I will both be covering the fest this year, and as it kicks off we wanted to highlight the films we’re most looking forward to. Fantasia 2021 is playing over one hundred features, and these are just ten of the ones we’re hoping to catch. Be sure to check out the official Fantasia site for virtual ticket info and screening access as this year’s schedule is once again filled with a wealth of new genre arrivals from around the globe. Keep reading to see which movies we’re most excited to see.
The Most Anticipated Movies of Fantasia Film Festival 2021
There’s an eternal shortage of tight, smart, mean-spirited revenge thrillers, and when they come along they’re typically films worth celebrating. The most promising possibility playing this year’s film fest is Paul Andrew Williams’ Bull. The always great and intense Neil Maskell (Kill List, 2011) plays an ex-enforcer who returns to town looking for blood and vengeance, and by all accounts he finds it. Past partners in crime are his targets, and with his missing son in the mix too it’s all bound to get real personal real fast. As a bonus, the film runs under ninety minutes and comes with the promise of practical gore effects worthy of “mid-80s Tom Savini,” so yeah, it’s obviously one of my most anticipated films this year. [Rob Hunter]
The Deep House
A haunted house film set under water? You really shouldn’t need to know more than that to get immediately in line for The Deep House, but just in case you’re still not convinced — and if not why not and what is wrong with you — here’s a bit more. It’s the latest from directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, the writers/directors of Inside (2007), Livid (2011), Among the Living (2014), Kandisha (2020) and more. A good hour or so of the film is spent underwater, a shoot that required thirty-three days spent beneath the surface, and while it’s crafted as a found footage-style livestream its unique locale and proven filmmakers means it might just be the nightmarish wet dream we’re looking for. [Rob Hunter]
Don’t Say Its Name
While I casually joke above about the dearth of tight little revenge thrillers, there’s a very real shortage of films by and/or about Indigenous people. This Canadian horror film utilizes those talents both on screen and off, and its First Nation setting allows the story to unfold amid its people and culture. The synopsis teases an eco-horror film as a mining company’s infringement upon the land stirs the ire of nature itself, and its snowbound setting promises a nightmarishly white landscape that filmmakers really should use more often. The film is director/co-writer Rueben Martell‘s feature debut, and if it’s even half as good as we’re expecting it should be far from his last. [Rob Hunter]
Ghosting Gloria is described as being about a woman who needs an orgasm. As a woman, color me pleasantly intrigued! In fact, the titular Gloria (Stefania Tortorella), may never have even had an orgasm at all, and her quest alongside her friend Sandra (Nenan Pelenur) to get her to finally experience one is further complicated when she meets the right guy – who turns out to be a ghost. A genre-bending film which includes shades of horror, fantasy, and erotic comedy, the sophomore feature from Uruguayan directors Marcela Matta and Mauro Sarser is purported to be a subversive romance film, and from this premise alone, it’s hard to argue with that. Ghosting Gloria sounds refreshing, fun, inventive, sex-positive, and original – all things I am actively looking for in modern cinema to keep me from blowing my brains out. [Brianna Zigler]
I won’t lie, it’s hard to not be interested in the sci-fi premise of a man who can talk to cars in the wake of Titane’s success at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, especially as we still have a little over two months until that film’s US theatrical release. To tide me over until then, there’s a Brazilian film titled King Car, about the son of a taxi man who has a strange communicative gift with motor vehicles. But when a car takes the life of his mother, he shuns that which he once loved – that is, until tragedy strikes, forcing Uno back into his family of motorheads as he sets out to save and refashion his father’s car business for a sustainable future. Thus, Renata Pinherio’s feature narrative debut King Car attempts an added dose of commentary on progressivism and late capitalism and the political climate of Brazil. With similar comparisons being made to Cronenberg’s Crash as with Titane, 2021 is potentially shaping up to be a fruitful year for horny car films. [Brianna Zigler]
Midnight in a Perfect World
In Filipino director Dodo Dayao’s sophomore film, a near-future Manila has been rendered a “perfect world” by the powers that be, with intermittent blackouts that occur past midnight and randomly-imposed curfews that you don’t want to be caught breaking. In Midnight in a Perfect World, four friends find shelter after dark in a government-sanctioned “safe house,” and where they find that things only get worse. Described by film critic Ariel Esteban Cayer as a “proudly experimental” and “hallucinatory” horror film, the claustrophobic premise and combined commentary on the current Duterte regime sound like promising ingredients for an affecting horror film. [Brianna Zigler]
The ongoing pandemic has already birthed several films and shows telling stories and making observations about our new normal, but few have take the idea to the extremes of The Sadness. Writer/director Rob Jabbaz‘s horror thriller sees a flu-like virus mutate into something far worse, and soon the streets are running red. Advance word on the film suggests it turns the zombie subgenre on its rotting head and features some truly outrageous visuals and beats, and that all sounds like the exact kind of nightmare scenario we might need to end our real world suffering. Barring that, though, I’ll settle for a kick-ass tale of survival and grue. [Rob Hunter]
The Suicide Squad
I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I’m more excited for The Suicide Squad from James Gunn because of the circumstances that surround the film rather than because of the film itself, but I also think it’s going to be pretty good. I tend to like stuff from Gunn, and I’m a big fan of his Guardians of the Galaxy chapters, the only Marvel films that I hold any allegiance to. But there’s just something so wonderfully chaotic about DC films trying to retcon a failed movie by basically acting like the first one didn’t even happen, while also co-opting half of the original cast, and hiring the director that the first film aped style from. Marvelous! Whether or not Gunn’s take is better or worse (highly doubt the latter is possible) than 2015’s Suicide Squad,the stacked cast is going to be interesting to watch, and DC films generally produce the more interesting superhero fare in the current franchise landscape. Their oeuvre offers installments which vary so wildly in style and quality that they always manage, at the very least, to keep things interesting. [Brianna Zigler]
Director Rob Schroeder’s feature debut, after primarily working in producing, stars Mad Men-alum Vincent Kartheiser. Ultrasound follows a man named Glen who’s forced to spend the night with a strange married couple after his car breaks down, and it’s a coming-together that ends up as the catalyst for a life-altering chain of events. The official synopsis of the film says nothing more as to avoid spoiling a film that is allegedly full of surprising twists. Ultrasound is written by Conor Stechschulte and adapted from his own acclaimed graphic novel “Generous Bosom.” As a Mad Men fan and self-proclaimed Pete Campbell simp, I would be lying if I didn’t admit the main reason I’m looking forward to this – aside from the compelling premise – is to see Kartheiser again. [Brianna Zigler]
When I Consume You
Filmmaker Perry Blackshear quietly burst onto the genre scene back in 2015 with the still haunting They Look Like People, and he followed it up in 2019 with the atmospheric The Siren. He’s back now with a third feature — once again starring his three favorite actors, Margaret Ying Drake, MacLeod Andrews, and Evan Dumouchel — and it once again promises a thoughtful, affecting chiller. When I Consume You pits a pair of adult siblings against a mysterious figure dogging their every move. There’s a supernatural element at play here, but just as powerful and most likely even more devastating are the very real pains that come with being human. I’ll be in line for anything Blackshear produces, so this was a no-brainer for inclusion on my most-anticipated list. [Rob Hunter]
The 25th-anniversary edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival runs from August 5th through the 25th. Head to their website and see some movies!
Related Topics: Fantasia Film Festival