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TOP 5 PICKS FOR THE 2019 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

As July rapidly descends upon us, most of our peers are looking forward to backyard barbecues, swimming pools, and late nights around the campfire. While that’s all fine and dandy, a select few of us know that there are darker treasures that await us in the air-conditioned movie houses of Montreal. If that’s not a dead giveaway, then I’ll just come out and say that it’s time for my absolute FAVORITE genre event of the summer…. The 2019 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL!  As someone who’s worked on various film fests over the years, I can tell you that the programming at FANTASIA sets the bar high as one of the top genre festivals on the planet.

 

Each year, we at FEAR FOREVER  like to showcase some of the standout films being shown. While we counted roughly 25 films they have programmed that we’re absolutely dying to see this year, we’ve decided to narrow it down to our top five most anticipated flicks of FANTASIA. In addition to various big studio films, FANTASIA is boasting an impressive roster of independent and micro-budget films, along with a number of special events including the likes of genre stalwart JOE BOB BRIGGS! All that being said, here’s our top five most anticipated FANTASIA films of 2019.

 

THE LODGE:

“A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé’s two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place”.

This film looks like a dark and dreadful little horror film, taking place in a desolate winter wonderland… or is it pronounced hellscape? In addition to its impressive cast (Riley Keough, Alicia Silverstone, Jaeden Martell) THE LODGE is also directed by Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz who absolutely blew me away with 2014’s GOODNIGHT MOMMY. The trailer doesn’t give too much away, and I’m anxious to see where this tale takes us. This film is being hailed as the scariest movie of the year by various media outlets.

THE LODGE screens on July 31st

 

TONE-DEAF:

“A woman goes to the countryside to spend a quiet weekend after losing her job and having her last complicated relationship implode. She rents a country house to an old-fashioned widower, who struggles to hide his psychopathic tendencies.”

I have yet to see a Richard Bates Jr film that I haven’t liked, and the trailer for this one had me at hello. It looks like it has all the hallmarks of the director’s penchant for pitch black humor and extreme violence. The trailer alone might make you want to re-think your next Airbnb rental. Need I say more?

TONE-DEAF screens on July 26th

 

BLISS:

“A brilliant painter facing the worst creative block of her life turns to anything she can to complete her masterpiece, spiraling into a hallucinatory hellscape of drugs, sex, and murder in the sleazy underbelly of Los Angeles.”

Director Joe Begos returns with what appears to be another bat-shit crazy journey into the dark side of humanity. Just watch as the trailer descends into an 80’s inspired…neon light soaked…blood infused nightmare. This is another director who’s previous work speaks for itself.

BLISS screens on July 22nd.

 

THE WRETCHED:

“A defiant teenage boy, struggling with his parent’s imminent divorce, faces off with a thousand year-old witch, who is living beneath the skin of and posing as the woman next door.”

I hadn’t heard much about this film until its world premiere was announced for the festival. Upon watching the trailer, I was hooked! The effects and gore look on point, and it looks like it doesn’t take long getting to the point and going straight for the jugular. The trailer leaves you with just enough to whet the appetite for witchcraft horror.

THE WRETCHED screens on July 19th

 

THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE:

“A man is attacked at random on the street. He enlists at a local dojo, led by a charismatic and mysterious sensei, in an effort to learn how to defend himself.”

So, this one had me conflicted. Although it’s not a horror film, the trailer looks absolutely hilarious while also maintaining a super-dark and ominous vibe. Director Riley Stearns returns after his impressive 2014 comedic thriller FAULTS, and if that doesn’t sell you, maybe the cast will. Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots and Alessandro Nivola (of FACE/OFF fame!) star as Karate students and instructor respectively.

THE ART OF SELF DEFENSE screens on July 11th.

So, there you have it. FANTASIA is showcasing a mind-blowing number of great films this year, and this list is just the tip of the iceberg. I strongly urge anyone in or around Montreal to check the schedule and attend as many screenings as possible. If you’re unable to attend in person, stay tuned as we will be bringing you as much coverage as possible in the coming weeks. You can check out the entire 2019 program here…Happy hunting!

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Andy Breslow

Andy Breslow

Andy has been a lifelong horror fan and genre journalist for close to two decades. He regularly attends film festivals and horror conventions with a personal collection of roughly four thousand films . Formerly a writer/reviewer for Bloody Disgusting, he was most recently a staff member/programmer for a prestigious Denver based genre film festival.
Although he loves all sub-genres of horror, his favorite styles are Italian Giallo and 80’s slasher films. Some of his favorite horror films include ‘Martyrs(2008)’, ‘Audition(1999)’, ‘The Thing(1982)’ and almost anything by Dario Argento.

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