Fantasia Fest 2021: What to Look Out For

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Fantasia Fest - But Why Tho

It’s that time of year again, time for the Fantasia International Film Festival, better known as Fantasia Fest by its audience. One of the leading festivals for genre film, Fantasia Fest is home to horror and anime adaptations to animation and dramas, and well, so much more. Today is day one of the festival that runs from August 5 to 25th.

To celebrate the curtains raising on the event our six contributors covering the fest have put together a list of their most anticipated titles. While you can expect coverage of most of these films, make sure to catch yourself at the festival which is offering many of its films virtually this year. 

Brain Freeze

DIRECTOR: Julien Knafo
WRITER(S):
Jean Barbe, Julien Knafo
CAST: Iani Bédard, Roy Dupuis, Marianne Fortier

“In the small, middle-class community of Ile-aux-Paons (Peacock Island), a new fertilizer is spread on the golf courses to allow the rich to play year-round. But the experimental fertilizer contains an active component that contaminates the population, turning them into zombies interested only in multiplying. This is how André (Iani Bédard), a young teenager who is taking care of his baby sister, crosses paths with Dan (Roy Dupuis), a security guard. As they journey across their quarantined island, they try to find the source of the evil and save themselves!”

King Knight

DIRECTOR: Richard Bates, Jr.
WRITER: Richard Bates, Jr.
CAST: Barbara Crampton, Matthew Gray Gubler, Andy Milonakis, Johnny Pemberton, Angela Sarafyan, Ray Wise, Kate Comer, Emily Chang, Josh Fadem, Swati Kapila, Shane Brady

“What makes a good witch nowadays? A deep sense of spirituality and communion with nature? Devotion to a tight-knit group of like-minded free spirits? A successful Etsy shop and a sick set of Tarot cards? Living the dream alongside his beautiful life partner Willow (Angela Sarafyan), the revered high priest of a modern Californian coven, Thorn (Matthew Gray Gubler) has it all… as well as a secret past that may or may not be as dark as his wardrobe. And much like the tides pursuing the moon, our past tends to follow us around. So, when his beloved uncovers said secret on the night of their Beltane celebrations, Thorn sets out on a soul-searching journey back to his hometown.”

The Last Thing Mary Saw

DIRECTOR: Edoardo Vitaletti
WRITER: Edoardo Vitaletti
CAST: Rory Culkin, Isabelle Fuhrman, Judith Roberts, Stefanie Scott

“Southold, New York, 1843: Young Mary (Stefanie Scott), blood trickling from behind the blindfold tied around her eyes, is interrogated about the events surrounding her grandmother’s death. As the story jumps back in time, we witness Mary, raised in a repressively religious household, finding fleeting happiness in the arms of Eleanor (Isabelle Fuhrman), the home’s maid. Her family, who believe they are seeing, speaking, and acting on God’s behalf, view the girls’ relationship as an abomination, to be dealt with as severely as possible. The couple attempt to carry on in secret, but someone is always watching, or listening, and the wages of perceived sin threaten to become death, with the tension only heightened by the arrival of an enigmatic stranger (Rory Culkin) and the revelation of forces other than the Lord at work.”

Ghosting Gloria

DIRECTOR: Marcela Matta, Mauro Sarser
WRITER: Mauro Sarser
CAST: Noelia Campo, Federico Guerra, Nenan Pelenur, Mauro Sarser, Stefania Trotorella

“Gloria (Stefania Tortorella) needs an orgasm. According to her friend Sandra (Nenan Pelenur), it’s written all over her face. When was the last time she had one? She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know if she’s ever had one. So begins Marcela Matta and Mauro Sarser’s sophomore feature GHOSTING GLORIA, a film which blends genres – switching between horror, fantasy, offbeat comedy – all wrapped up in whimsical, somewhat unconventional and subversive, romance. Gloria’s problem with getting an orgasm is easily solved when she finds the right man. There is just one issue with her new love interest: he’s a ghost.”

The Great Yokai War – Guardians

DIRECTOR: Takashi Miike
WRITER: Yusuke Watanabe
CAST: Kokoro Terada, Takao Osawa, Hana Sugisaki, Sakura Ando

“Like many children his age, Kei learns to control his fears and constantly quarrels with his little brother Dai. One night, a strange creature comes to visit him, then a mysterious portal opens in his room. He is transported to the magical world of the Yokai, the gentle Japanese demons, each with an unusual shape and unique character traits. They tell him that a terrible war threatening their world will devastate downtown Tokyo in the form of the colossal Yokaiju. Worse, the emergency meeting of the great international council of Yokai, where Dracula, the mermaid, what looks like a Trumpist, and their cronies have abandoned them, has designated Kei and Dai as their only hopes, as they are the last descendants of a legendary fighter. Frightened, Kei refuses. When he returns, Dai has disappeared. Kei must find the courage to fulfill his destiny in order to save his brother, the Yokai, and Tokyo.”

Little Vampire

WRITER: Jardel Sandrina, Joann Sfar
CAST: Camille Cottin, Claire De la Rüe du Can, Louise Lacoste, Alex Lutz, Jean-Paul Rouve

“Our Little Vampire has been ten years old for 300 years, ever since that fateful day of dark magic and great danger. For 300 years, he has hidden away among a motley menagerie of monsters in a foreboding haunted house by the sea. And for 300 years, the poor kid has been bored stiff. He yearns for the mundane fun in the sunshine that other kids enjoy. His eternally lovely mother Pandora and ghastly yet gallant father, the Captain of the Dead, strictly forbid him to leave the property. With good reason – the world beyond the household’s protective dome is a dangerous one for these denizens of the dark. In the shadows lurks the sinister Gibbus, longtime nemesis of Pandora and the Captain. He and his insect minions, the kawais, are out there, but so is Michael, a neighbourhood orphan who could sure use a friend…”

The Night House

DIRECTOR: David Bruckner
WRITER: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski
CAST: Vondie Curtis Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Rebecca Hall, Evan Jonigkeit, Stacy Martin

“Reeling from the unexpected and shocking suicide of her husband, schoolteacher Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the remote lakeside home he built for them. Beth valiantly tries to hold it together – but when the nightmares come (and they do!), that becomes increasingly difficult. Not helping: disturbing visions of a presence in the home calling to her, beckoning her with a ghostly allure. Other unexplained phenomena pop up, like the stereo system bursting to ear-splitting life during sleeping hours, and the “night house” across the lake that strangely appears and disappears. Against the advice of her concerned friends, Beth begins digging into her husband’s belongings, yearning for answers. What she finds are secrets both bizarre and frightening – a mystery the frazzled widow is determined to unravel.”

Caution, Hazardous Wife

DIRECTOR: Toya Sato
WRITER: Yukiko Manabe
CAST: Haruka Ayase, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Kosuke Suzuki

“Appearances can sometimes be deceiving. The inhabitants of the coastal town of Tamami will find this out soon enough. A methane hydrate processing plant is about to be built on their shores, a project dear to the government, and the stink of corruption reaxches for miles around. In addition, attacks on opponents of the project are on the rise. There is also the discreet Nami (Haruka Ayase) who hides a secret that she herself has forgotten. The clumsy, unremarkable housewife is in fact a formidable secret agent who suffers from amnesia since a head injury suffered during a mission. A victim of strange dreams in which she confronts Russian mercenaries, she undergoes therapy to recover her memory, but receives mixed support from her husband Yuki (Hidetoshi Nishijima), who keeps a close eye on her. And what about Juri (Kenshi Okada), the cosplay-loving café owner who seems to shun certain people? Tamami is not nearly as peaceful as it seems. And its citizens, especially Nami, haven’t seen anything yet!”

The Devil’s Deal

DIRECTOR: Lee Won-tae
WRITER: Lee Su-jin
CAST: Cho Jin-woong, Kim Moo-yul, Lee Sung-min

“It’s 1992 in Busan and the city is preparing for the next election. Having dedicated the last 20 years of his life to politics, congressional candidate Jeon Hae-woong (Cho Jin-woong,) is running his campaign with great confidence, but a visit from debt collectors who tell him that he has been ousted from the party brings him back down to earth. An influential businessman has chosen a docile successor to help his contacts in the allocation of priceless land. Humiliated, Hae-woong decides to run as an independent and enlists the support of organized crime with secret information. Deeply in debt, he must win this election, or he could be killed. However, his opponents are much more powerful than he is, and have access to all the strings. This deal with the devil may not end well.”

Josée

DIRECTOR: Kim Jong-kwan
WRITER: Kim Jong-kwan
CAST: Han Ji-min, Nam Joo-hyuk

“After an incident that leaves her electric wheelchair disabled, Josée (Han Ji-min) is rescued by Young-seok (Nam Joo-hyuk), a lonely student who takes her to a dilapidated home where she lives with an old woman. This is the beginning of a romance that develops slowly, over meals cooked by the young paraplegic woman, who gradually reveals herself to her new companion. But the stories she tells are often more fantasies than memories, Josée being an orphan who, because of her disability, spends more time with her nose in a book or lost in her imagination than living adventures around the world…”

The Sadness

DIRECTOR: Rob Jabbaz
WRITER: Rob Jabbaz
CAST: Regina Lei, Tzu-Chiang Wang, Berant Zhu

“Strap yourself in for the most intense freakout of a transgressive horror rollercoaster to smash through cinemas in ages. In an alternate version of Taiwan, a rapidly spreading pandemic that the government has largely chosen to ignore suddenly mutates into a rabies-like affliction. The infected find themselves unable to control their id, acting on their every primal impulse. Limbs are torn, faces are peeled, everything becomes a weapon – or an orifice – and anything could happen. Anywhere. Everywhere. In the midst of escalating, city-wide ultra-violence, a young couple on opposite sides of town struggle to re-connect. And that’s all you need to know!”