Wait, it’s been a year already? I guess that’s what happens when time loses all meaning. The good news, however, is that since a year has passed it’s already time for the 2023 installment of the Fantasia Film Festival in ye olde Montreal.
This has been one of my favorite festivals over the last half-decade or so, and it always features a banger lineup of rousing, intriguing, and generally fantastic genre films from around the world. And this year looks to be no different. There are some big titles, a bunch of interesting indies I’ve never heard of, and so, so much more.
With that in mind, here are a handful of Fantasia 2023 films that I’m excited to check out. Some of these I’ve seen at other fests or because they release soon-ish, others are from filmmakers I’m a fan of, and still more simply look or sound awesome.
And, of course, there are but a few of the movies that stood out to me at first glance. I could make this list go on for quite some time. There are also sure to be others that pop up along the way and blow my hair back before the end of Fantasia, which runs from July 20 through August 9. Enjoy.
A Sundance debut, this slow-burn indie horror uses werewolf mythology to tell a tale of jilted small town first love, self-discovery, and hockey. My Animal director Jacquelin Castel crafts a film that’s moody, lush, and full of dark secrets and brooding desire.
This is actually my second time trying to catch up with Mami Wata. Attempts at SIFF earlier this year didn’t pan out, but I’m excited to finally see this mythical fable shot in black-and-white and steeped in African folklore. There are reportedly mermaids.
I’m admittedly a bit mixed on the filmography of director Joe Lynch. (I tend to like his action movies more than his horror work.) But his latest, Suitable Flesh, is a Lovecraftian tale of fractured personalities and the occult, and it stars the great Barbara Crampton and Heather Graham. All of this adds up to one promising package. (And word on the street is it’s a good time.)
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, a looping, single-take time-travel adventure, is one of the most inventive sci-fi pictures of the past few years. So you better believe whatever director Junta Yamaguchi does next has our attention. This time out he apparently sticks with a short time-loop scenario. If it ain’t broke…
To explain Mad Cats seems like an impossible task. Just know it’s an experience that features humans playing anthropomorphized “cats,” thanks to an ancient forbidden catnip. It’s a wild, surreal time that also happens to include a ton of slick, elaborate fight scenes. The result is an odd, singular watch.
Satan Wants You
Remember the Satanic Panic of the 1980s? This documentary digs into Michelle Remembers, the book that one interviewee refers to as “patient zero for the Satanic Panic,” and examines the work’s origins, impact, and lasting sinister legacy.
After Knives and Skin, anything Jennifer Reeder makes is a must-see in my book. Perpetrator follows a resourceful teenage girl living in a dangerous town where young women continually go missing. Throw Alicia Silverstone into the mix and, yeah, this is one to watch.
Sympathy for the Devil
It’s hard not to get at least a little excited for a movie that looks to let Nicolas Cage fully off the leash and go full mega-Cage. That’s always a treat, and even if a movie is otherwise middling, they always have that to fall back on.
At 18, Australian director Alice Maio Mackay already has So Vam and Bad Girl Boogey (which just released and I can’t recommend enough) under her belt. So why the hell not drop a third feature? T Blockers follows a young trans filmmaker searching for a missing film, working a crappy job, and dealing with bigots. And that’s before an earthquake unleashes an ancient, hatred-eating parasite. Where do I get in line?
The Sacrifice Game
Jenn Wexler is back to follow up 2018’s The Ranger with a film about Catholic school girls besieged by Satanic invaders and supernatural killers, all while just trying to enjoy their Christmas holiday. I will be watching this at my earliest convenience.