Fantasia International Film Fest is fast approaching with its 27th edition. The unique festival is the home to some of the most genre-defining and genre-defying movies you will ever see. Known for films and experiences that push the envelope, the Canadian festival is a favorite each year. Despite the Hollywood strike that has shut down production in the US, this festival will continue to showcase and celebrate filmmakers from all across the globe. The festival is deep with outstanding films, but there are a few standouts that are necessary for genre lovers. Here are the 5 movies that shouldn’t be missed at Fantasia International Film Fest 2023.
Lovely, Dark, And Deep
Those who saw The Wind, which premiered at Fantastic Fest in 2018, are fans of Teresa Sutherland’s work. As the writer of that film, she left the script in others’ hands. This time around, she both wrote and directed with stunning results. Her work speaks for itself and is singular in its vision. She really has a knack for tapping into those primal but very relatable fears of the natural and often unknowable world around us. Georgina Campbell is a ranger who may lose her mind and find something even more important while working in the UK’s backcountry. This is easily the film I am most excited about. Killers and creature films are always popular, but the kind of horror Sutherland mines is deep-rooted and affecting.
This movie is set and filmed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That alone should be enough to make everyone in the free world interested in supporting it. Screenlife films have come into favor in the past few years, with Missing and later Searching grabbing viewers’ attention. The story plays out entirely online and looks to fill that mystery itch. The film was made to give voice to and make sense of the horror happening in Ukraine. This is a World Premier and a must-see.
A sci-fi thriller where everyone downloads their brains so they can be restored after a violent death. Robert Hloz’s film works like a respawn point, effectively giving police the ability to bring their victims back to life. When a detective is called to look into a triple homicide, a restoration team brings one of three victims back to life. It’s a neo-noir thriller that takes a familiar premise and gives it new life. The first Czech science fiction film in forty years is a genre-bender and sure to be a big hit.
Werewolf films get a bad rap. Primarily this is because most of them aren’t great. Legendary filmmaker Larry Fessenden’s creature film is the exception to the rule. A painter living in a small American town becomes convinced he is becoming a werewolf by the light of a full moon and wreaking havoc on the community. Not to be confused with the Josh Duhamel action thriller from 2022, this horror offering will be everything Fessenden’s movies are known for. This continuation of his Monsterverse movies is well-cast and uniquely storied.
Sympathy For The Devil
Easily the biggest of the premiers is Yuval Adler’s film written by Luke Paradise, starring Joel Kinnaman, Nicolas Cage, and Kaiwi Lyman. When a mysterious passenger forces a man to drive him at gunpoint, he finds himself in the middle of an intense cat-and-mouse game. Nobody does unhinged better than Cage, and this vehicle for his brand of unpredictable zaniness is as good as it gets. It’s a high-octane mystery wrapped in an enigma that will keep you guessing. This is another World Premiere.
Fantasia International Film Festival 2023 opens July 20th, 2023, and runs until August 9th. The Montreal-based festival is full of films to die for and events worth living for. Tickets are still available but going fast. You can find the full schedule and ticket information here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.