Last month, we shared the first wave of wild genre titles that will play at The Fantasia International Film Festival this summer. Now, the second wave has hit, and it’s positively thrilling, boasting festival faves, star-studded stunners, and the latest chapter in the Ringu franchise, Hideo Nakata’s Sadako.
Here are the highlights.
Long before we had Samara and The Ring, J-horror auteur Hideo Nakata horrified audiences with Sadako and Ringu. It was twenty years ago that this iconic film made its North American Premiere at Fantasia, introducing Ringu’s dark world of long-haired ghost girls and horrid curses to Western audiences. The following year, Ringu 2 would come to Fantasia. Now, several sequels and 20 years later, Nakata is returning to the franchise and this outstanding festival, bringing Sadako for its Opening Night. What does that mean for audiences? Per the press release, “Sadako cleverly respects all of the elements that made Koji Suzuki’s novels so successful, but brings in a host of new elements that will revive J-horror for an all-new generation of terrified moviegoers.”
And that’s not all Fantasia’s got in J-horror. Hirotaka Adachi’s Stare delivers a tale of a mysterious evil so scary it’s making its victims hearts stop and their eyes explode!
For Closing Night, Hiroyuki Imaishi’s anime Promare boasts a colorful story of heroic firefighters. Bringing a trippy does of science-fiction, Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium is following up its Cannes debut with a Canadian one. The film stars Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg as a couple eager to settle down in a cozy neighborhood but terrified to discover they can’t leave it.
For lovers of crime-thrillers, Fantasia’s offering the World Premiere of Matthew Pope’s Blood on Her Name, which stars Bethany Anne Lind as an accidental killer who becomes determined to return the body of her victim to his family (probably without getting caught). Then there’s Abner Pastoll’s A Good Woman Is Hard To Find, which stars Sarah Bolger as a recent widow hellbent on avenging her husband. Fantasia promises of this one, “It will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, and deliver countless surprises along the way.”
For something sweeter, look to Brave Father Online: Our Story of Final Fantasy XIV, a charming family-drama about a grown son who learns how to reconnect to his dad through online gaming. But for a darker look at video games, dive into Dreadout, a videogame adaptation that offers “an ample serving of the undead with a shot of demonic possession on the side.”
At the 23rd edition of Fantasia will also be restoration premieres of Muscha’s Decoder, Al Adamson’s Dracula vs. Frankensetin, Jorge Grau’s The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, Sisworo Gautama Putra’s Satan’s Slave, Marcell Jankovics’s Son of the White Mare, Makoto Tezuka’s Legend of the Stardust Brothers, and Ted Kotcheff’s first chapter in the Rambo franchise, First Blood, as well as a revival screening of Sam O’Steen’s made-for-television sequel Look What Happened to Rosemary’s Baby.
And there’s much, much more, including The Art of Self-Defense, which Tori called “wickedly funny” out of SXSW, and Freaks, which played TIFF last fall and knocked me down with its tale of parental terror and sci-fi twists. You can peruse more titles at Fantasia’s website. And be sure to let us know what you’d like to see covered when Pajiba visits in July. Plus, Fox Searchlight will be bringing the deadly game thriller Ready Or Not, which had a trailer that got Jodi stoked!
Personally, my most-anticipated film at this year’s incredible Fantasia line-up is The Lodge, Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s feature-length follow-up to the truly terrifying Goodnight Mommy. That twisted tale of twins was deeply disturbing and also daringly funny. So, I’m up for whatever these co-directors want to show us next. That The Lodge stars Riley Keough and features a tale of chilly isolation, creepy kids, and untold terror is just gravy.
The 23rd Fantasia International Film Festival will be held in Montreal from July 11 to August 1.