Festivals

{Fantastic Fest 2021} 5 Movies to Keep on Your Radar

The online portion of Fantastic Fest is wrapping up and the in person side finished last week. It is not quite what Fantastic Fest was before but it sure felt like we were moving in the right direction. I managed 16 movies over two weeks and still felt like I was leaving some things on the table. There were movies about finding a community through playing video games. There were small terrifying gothic movies that made me rethink how I felt about The Lodge. The festival served up a number of movies to keep on your radar and here are just five you need to take note of.

She Will

One of the best things to come out of pandemic cinema has been the reclamation of the family drama/horror. Movies like Amulet and Relic return back to the families and homes of our youths and hold them up to the light of modern day. At its core She Will explores some of the same themes. Examining what it is to grow old, while still grappling with the trauma of our younger lives. This purgatory gets thoroughly punctuated when Veronica (Alice Krige) travels to the English countryside to recuperate after a double mastectomy. Her recovery also gives rise to a series of new powers that she and her young nurse Desi explore in depth. The cinematography is gorgeous throughout. There are nature scenes that look so vivid and organic they might feel more at home on the discovery channel. That is not to say this film is slow. The editing is absolutely electric as we moved from slightly terrible Mother Nature to slightly more terrible Veronica. It feels perfect for the A24 or IFC Midnight crowd. Do not miss it.

There’s Someone Inside Your House

If you missed the high school slasher from nineties and early 2000’s Netflix delivers with their modern version, There’s Someone Inside Your House. Indeed someone is getting into the houses of the students at Osborne High School. Getting in their houses, wearing their faces and killing them. Slowly the killer is making his rounds of our ragtag group of outcasts. Inside Your House works extra hard to be inclusive and I appreciated that our Scooby Gang is diverse both ethnically but also in gender and orientation. This diversity never defines the character but rather augments their role as outsiders. Moreover Sydney Park is the absolute next final girl. Smart, damaged, and absolutely engaging her Makani Young is a force. This is a MUST watch for spooky season.

Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes

What is this movie? Like what genre do you even label a movie about the discovery that a television can display two minutes into the future. The entire film feels like a single take and in that way reminded me just enough of One Cut of the Dead that I smiled through most of the film. Two Minutes has some absolutely hilarious moments. I wasn’t ready. You should be. As the rules of the time loop get fleshed out our characters experiment, build, and attempt to exploit this two minute advantage. I described it to a friend as the offspring of  π and office space. Its quirky, and weird and absolutely the type of film everyone was and should be talking about in the bar afterwards.

The Glasshouse

Hands down the most beautiful place to film a movie has got to be the setting for Glasshouse. The entire movie was filmed at The Pearson Conservatory, a Victorian glasshouse marooned in the Eastern Cape since 1881. The titular house is absolutely breathtaking, imparting the idea that our main characters live in a protective bubble that also functions as a fishbowl. Everyone can see inside, but no one can come in. Very much a terrifying coming of age post apocalyptic thriller, I always appreciate movies that treat their young characters as real people. Even the young characters who make poor decisions use a logic that everyone can understand. This movie is also sexy as hell and gives off Dangerous Liaison vibes for days. The wasting disease seems familiar enough that those of use who have seen older family members die of dementia will know exactly what a world where everyone could contract that disease might look like. Its frightening. As things heat up in The Glasshouse, things get chillier outside of it.

Let the Wrong One In

Buffy fans will recognize Anthony Head as a vampire hunter who helps take down a pack of vampires in Dublin. That’s the log line. That should be the only thing you need to know before sitting down for Let the Wrong One In, an absolutely uproarious horror comedy that works mostly because of its love of Dublin and a number of sight gags and bits that feel like the perfect antidote to a number of other very serious films on this list. Sometimes you need to just go out and have fun. Head isn’t in all of the movie, but Matt and Deco the slightly dysfunctional pair of brothers who fall victim to a notorious group of vampires who are laying siege to the city provide the heartbeat. In some ways this film feels a bit like a superhero movie told from the perspective of an ordinary dude. It feels fresh and funny. The writing isn’t quite as sharp as What We Do in the Shadows, but it makes up for it with sight gags galore. If you like physical comedy that does not take itself too seriously than put Let the Wrong One In on your radar.

These are just five. I encourage all of you to take a look at the entire lineup and add lots of them to your release date calendars. Fantastic Fest has come to represent for me a time and place that movie fans can act as their own gatekeepers. Their own brand ambassadors, taking with them a number of movies to tell their friends about, to ask their local theatres to screen, or in this case write about. These five movies are movies I will continue to talk up over the next few months. However, they are hardly the only movies from Fantastic Fest worth your time. From silly Irish humor to Japanese science fiction Fantastic Fest will always be the place we can all come together, even if half of us were virtual. See you all back in Austin next year!