Over the last few years, Fantastic Fest has slowly become one of our favorite film festivals in Austin. While it’s primary focus is on the best genre films from around the world (the majority of the films screening are international productions) the festival is also known for dramas, experimental films, and even the occasional family movie. You might not recognize many of the directors with films playing at the festival, but nearly every movie at the festival has either already gotten lots of buzz from around the festival circuit or has a fascinating (and often very subversive) premise. Since even we hadn’t heard of a lot of the movies playing the festival, we’ve done some research and put together a list of the 10 movies we’re most excited to see:
10. Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead
The first Dead Snow film was a camp masterpiece. If you haven’t seen it, the film follows a group of german medical students that accidentally reanimate the frozen corpses of a nazi batallion after stealing their cursed gold. The movie was scary, silly, over the top, and best of all, played completely straight by the director. Dead Snow 2 picks up immediately after the end of the first film, and promises to, somehow, be even more ridiculous than the first.
9. The Babadook
This film opened to rave reviews at sundance and has been a festival darling ever since. While the premise of a young single mother and her son being terrorized by a malevolent supernatural force is nothing new, first time director Jennifer Kent’s film promises to deliver very strong performances from it’s leads while also skillfully dealing with themes of loss and grief. The movie currently has a 100% frest rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
We missed this Kiwi horror comedy at SXSW, but we won’t be making the same mistake again. The movie promises to deliver just as many scares as it will laughs, and we can’t wait to see it.
Warning: NSFW trailer.
I’ve watched the trailer for this film three times and I still have no idea what’s going on. Horsehead looks absolutely, unabashedly bonkers, and I couldn’t be more excited. Good or bad, it’s certainly going to be memorable.
6. Jacky in The Kingdom of Women
Charlotte Gainsborough consistently picks fascinating projects to work on, and this film is no exception. This premise of this gender bending comedy is fantastic, and if the trailer is any indication, the movie will live up to the promise of it’s concept.
5. It Follows
It Follows was the best reviewed film to premiere in TIFF’s extremely competitive Midnight Madness category, and while there isn’t a trailer online yet, the sheer amount of buzz being generated for this movie speaks for itself. Early reviews have described the film as an incredibly intelligent subversion of the typical teen horror film tropes, and filled with refreshing ideas and fun twists. No trailer is currently available for this film.
Alexandre Aja filmography could kindly be described as uneven, but isnt doing anything to dampen our excitement for his latest film, Horns. Daniel Radcliffe’s performance is getting rave reviews, and, as much as it’s become a cliche to say, this looks like the film that will finally free him from being recognized as Harry Potter first, and Daniel Radcliffe second.
Jake Gyllenhall’s performance in Nightcrawler looks delightfully unhinged in the directorial debut of screenwriter Dan Gilroy. The movie earned very strong reviews at TIFF this year and is the perfect film to close out Fantastic Fest.
2. The Tribe
The Tribe was (ironically) one of, if not the most, talked about films at this year’s Cannes film festival. If you’re not familiar with it, the entire movie is in sign language with no subtitles. It’s sounds gimmicky, but many of the reviews out of Cannes have praised it as the best film of the year, and one of the most important pieces of the decade.
1. The Town That Dreaded Sundown
I had never heard of this film before it was announced as one of the films playing at Fantastic Fest, but after watching the trailer, I couldn’t be more excited. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a sort-of-sequel sort-of-remake of a somewhat obscure 70’s slasher movie, based on a real uncaught serial killer in Texarkana. The film has some serious talent behind the camera and, if nothing else, looks to be one of the most stylish movies playing the festival.