Each year, Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival plays host to sensational genre films from around the world. This year, three of their best titles have a few things in common. Slaxx, Lucky, and 12 Hour Shift are each English-language horror movies with female protagonists. Each is written and directed by women. Each blends elements of horror with a deeply—and delightfully deranged—sense of humor to create a film that’s frightening and funny. And good news for you: Each will be coming your way!
When covering film festivals, part of my personal mission is to uncover hidden gems that need a good review to give it a boost that might help it find an audience or even a distributor. Early on in my Fantasia screenings (done remotely via links), Slaxx, Lucky, and 12 Hour Shift each knocked me out. Yet I’ve been dragging my feet on writing the reviews, instead penning five others first. Part of why is because I’ve been reveling in the before, enjoying the process of playing out in my head what I want to say about these deliciously exciting movies. Also, I really want to talk spoilers, but don’t want to spoil the fun. Since these films have distribution, I know U.S. audiences will be able to see them before long, so I don’t want to spill their secrets to be carelessly stumbled upon online.
So with much preamble here are blurb reviews for three, fantastic and female-made horror films for which you should keep your eyes peeled. When they can be seen Stateside, we’ll revisit with more in-depth coverage.
Written by: Patricia Gomez and Elza Kephart
Directed by: Elza Kephart
Killer fashion sense has never been so literal. In this Canadian indie, the slasher slaughtering a string of retail clerks are a pair of homicidal jeans. That’s right: deadly denim. The concept is bonkers, and Gomez and Kephart embrace that level of absurdity like these jeans embrace curves: with bloody relish. However, there’s more to this fashion-forward film that meets the eye. Beneath the cover of a goofy creature-feature lies a merciless critique of fast fashion and the exploitative evils of consumerism.
For a sneak peek at Slaxx, check out the trailer. But be warned it boasts some spoilers.
Ahead of the film’s World Premiere at Fantasia, Slaxx was purchased by the horror-streaming site, Shudder. Once the film finishes its festival tour, subscribers can expect to see this stylish slasher on their shelves. The exact release date is currently TBD.
Written by: Brea Grant
Directed by: Natasha Kermani
Brea Grant pulls double-duty on Lucky, a horror film inspired by horrid events from her own life. May (Grant) is a self-help writer whose personal and professional lives are on the skids. Her books aren’t selling like they used to and her husband is growing distant. Then the man arrives, wearing a mask and staring through her window. He has one mission: to break in and kill her. Night after night, he will try and May will battle back like the ferocious Final Girl she is. However, by day, she faces the frustrating struggle to maintain her composure when faced with careless cops, tone-deaf social workers, and a world that wonders if she’s really to blame.
Shudder also snapped up this surreal slasher ahead of its International Premiere at Fantasia. This means Shudder subscribers have Lucky to look forward to. The exact release date is currently TBD.
12 Hour Shift
Written by: Brea Grant
Directed by: Brea Grant
Yep. Grant made two of my favorite films out of Fantasia 2020. This one centers on a harried nurse (Angela Bettis) who’s got a side hustle as an organ dealer. It’s a grisly gig that gets dangerous when her ditzy courier Regina, (Chloe Farnworth) misplaces the black market package. Now, a seething gangster demands a kidney, and he’s not too picky from who he takes it. Plotted over one brutal double, 12 Hour Shift is a gory and gamely goofy horror-comedy that offers an array of colorful characters against a Southern-fried setting. Bonus: David Arquette pops up for some scream-worthy thrills.
Get a feel for this gleefully freaky film with its first trailer:
Magnet picked up this blood-splattered romp, and plans to release it in theaters and on-demand on October 2.
Fantasia International Film Festival runs August 20 to September 2.
Header Image Source: Magnet/Shudder/Shudder