With a week between me and the official end of the Fantasia International Film Festival it’s time to look back on the films that didn’t get a full review from me but that I enjoyed nonetheless…

House of the Disappeared (2017) – Directed by Lim Dae-Wong, starring Kim Yunjin (Sun! from Lost!). A hauntedhouse of the disappeared house film—my favourite horror genre—with tasteful ghost makeup and a plot that manages to surprise and stay interesting once the story is revealed.

© 2017 Twentieth Century FoxPlan B: Sheiss auf Plan A (2016) – Directed by Ufuk Genc and Michael Popescu. An action movie that frequently read like “Quick! Get our fighters to the next round of bad guys so they can kick ass!” … and I had zero complaints. The actors had great chemistry, the jokes were hilarious, and the whole thing felt like an homage to good old-fashioned action films. I forgot action movies could be fun! (Let’s be real, Mad Max: Fury Road might be one of the greatest films of all time, but it was also EPIC). I laughed, I cheered, I got hype.

Tiger Girl (2017) – Directed by Jakob Lass. Pretty sure you’ll be able to find this stylish, violent film more easily than tigergirlsome of the other Fantasia offerings – and with good reason! Maggie is a timid wallflower, and Tiger is a small-potatoes criminal and rebel with a code. After security-school student Maggie is given a taste of power, it goes to her head and she and Tiger become involved in a series of escalating crimes. At first it felt like it might be a weird Fight Club situation, but then instead, it turned into a profound examination of character and toxic female friendships in increasingly surreal situations. Highly recommended if you want strong but flawed female characters who hog all the lines, and a bunch of blandly handsome male extras.

Endless_PressStill_1.0The Endless (2017) – Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. Was this the best film I watched this year? Maybe. Jon’s got a more in-depth review here. I love films that take improbable and speculative plots, then use them to examine human relationships. Beautifully filmed, wonderful writing, believable and fully-formed characters (Benson and Moorhead knew what they were going for, and they succeeded.) Seriously pumped to watch their other films now.

The Night Watchmen (2017) – Directed by Mitchell Altieri. ANight-Watchmen-poster-20151116-092831 Baltimore clown and his troupe of… clown underlings… are killed in Romania and their bodies are sent back to Baltimore for autopsy. Surprise! You know exactly where this is going and it only took one sentence! The perfect late-night movie for rounding out your Fantasia docket and recovering from the glory of The Endless. More of the jokes landed than fell flat (some still did), it managed to be a highly enjoyable B-movie that knew what it was without getting all self-aware about it. Fangs, blood, random topless women, a surprising amount of flatulence that surprisingly didn’t turn me off from the whole thing. Possibly best watched in a crowd, probably best watched after a couple drinks.

I also snuck in some of the short film screenings—especially with horror, short films give you a chance to really nail down what personally works for you with the genre (I, for example, really hate everything that happens after you see “the monster”, think children are low-hanging fruit—and frequently bad actors—and love plots that revolve around a simple concept). This year, the lineup also included the bronze medal Quebec short “The Babysitter”, which was a slick pastiche/homage to murder flicks of the 1980s and 90s.

 

It’s also worth pointing out, you guys, that I have superlative taste – short film “No Wave” won second prize for Best Canadian or Quebec short film, and Split won the New Flesh Award for Best First Feature! Hopefully this gives them both a push in terms of distribution… or at the very least, teaches y’all to stray from your usual Fantasia lanes in the years to come.

Just a reminder that some of the previously mentioned films—namely Brigsby Bear, The Little Hours and A Ghost Story (reviewed by Jon) are easily, easily watched this month at the Forum and/or Cinema du Parc. Keep your eyes peeled for the rest! Or just sadly get out your calendars and wait ‘til next summer rolls around.

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