After spending hours looking through the massive 2017 Fantasia Film Fest lineup, we narrowed it down to our final five picks. There are plenty more great films to see screening this year but we hope this list has provided some of our readers with an idea on where to start. While this will be the first year Goomba Stomp/Sordid Cinema is covering the event, we are no strangers to the festival. As some of you may know, we’ve been covering the fest since 2007 when we all wrote for the now defunct web publication Sound On Sight. Much like Sound On Sight, expect plenty of coverage from us over the next month.
16) LaPlace’s Demon
Italian director Giordano Giulivi’s new film The Laplace’s Demon will be making its world premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival later this month. This means those lucky enough to attend will be among the first to see what promises to be best faux-vintage, Gothic, sci-fi-horror film in years. Of course, I haven’t yet seen it yet but judging by the trailer and the brief plot synopsis, Lacplace’s Demon looks right up my alley. Seriously though, who doesn’t want to see a movie described as a Twilight Zone episode directed by Guy Maddin with shades of Mario Bava and Val Lewton. If there’s one haunted-house movie you see this year, make it this one.
17) Cold Hell
The best part of attending the Fantasia Film Festival is discovering films from around the world you may have never heard of or seen had it not been for the amazing programmers the festival has, who go out of their way to bring us some of the best genre films from across the globe. While looking up info about Cold Hell online, I couldn’t find one review on Rotten Tomatoes and the only reviews I could find are all written in German. Luckily you don’t need to speak German to know that this movie is well worth your time since it is being championed by Mitch Davis who calls it “a sharp scream that explodes off the screen.” Of course, there are other reasons to see it. For starters, it was directed by Academy Award-winning director Stefan Ruzowitzky (Anatomie, The Counterfeiters) and judging by the trailer, Ruzowitzky wasn’t lying when the director promised the toughest Austrian thriller of recent years.
18) Brigsby Bear
By now you’ve probably heard of Brigsby Bear, the Sundance hit about a sheltered man-child (Kyle Mooney) who attempts to make a movie adaptation of his favorite kids’ show (Brigsby Bear Adventures). Yes, folks, it’s another take on the common theme of arrested development but if you’re looking for an original yet accessible comedy to balance out all the horror and non-stop action that Fantasia films usually supply, then look no further. But be warned: The best way to see Dave McCary’s terrific directorial debut is without knowing anything whatsoever about the story. The less known about the plot the better, so try going in blind.
19) 78/ 52
As per every year, Fantasia selects only a few documentaries to screen and usually they are all great, making it hard to decide which to see and which to save for a later date. This year however, the choice is obvious. 78/52 is another wildly acclaimed Sundance debut and a feature-length exploration of one of the most pivotal sequences in Cinema’s history: the legendary shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho. That’s right – 78/52 spends its entire running time (ninety minutes to be exact) dissecting a two-minute scene, and in doing so reveals the depth of Hitchock’s genius in a way a much broader discussion likely couldn’t. If you’re slightly interested in how movies get made, this is something you don’t want to miss. On a side note, it was also birthed out of Fantasia’s Frontières co-production market, so what better place to watch it than at the festival later this month?
20) The Villainess
With only one spot left on our list, it was hard settling on what to choose last but we’ve decided on The Villainess. It’s not just because the film has one of the most exciting trailers we’ve seen all year but also because it has echoes of Luc Besson’s Nikita resonate throughout. Writer-director Jung Byung-gil indulges in all the excesses of South Korean screen violence, and from what I’m told, this film will astonish you with its stunning reckless motorbike chase and with the bravura climax on a speeding bus that will leave you digging into your armrest.