Fantasia 2020 – What to Watch

Fantasia International Film Festival kicks off this Thursday 20th August and they’ve gone virtual! In these challenging times, Fantasia is running a virtual film festival with an extraordinary line up of horror and genre films as well as short film showcases and panels.

I’m very excited to be covering Fantasia this year as an accredited outlet so look our for all our reviews and coverage coming soon!

Here’s my pick of what to watch at Fantasia 2020:

The Reckoning – (world premiere)

Fantasia’s opening night movie is Neil Marshall’s latest focusing on witchcraft and witchfinders in England at the time of the Great Plague. Marshall’s career has been somewhat eclectic ranging from directing one of the best modern-day horrors (The Descent), directing one of the best-looking episodes of television in years (BlackwaterGame of Thrones) to the recent divisive Hellboy remake but there is one thing to be said for him – his work is never boring. Has to be one of the hottest picks of the fest.

The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw (world premiere)

I do love a spot of folk horror and this tale of a mother and daughter accused of witchcraft in a remote rural community looks spellbinding. Written and directed by Thomas Robert Lee and with an extraordinarily poised central performance from newcomer Jessica Reynolds, this looks spine chilling stuff.

Special Actors – Canadian Premiere

Shinichiro Ueda directed the most innovative zombie movie in years with his hysterically funny smash hit One Cut of the Dead. His follow up Special Actors follows a group of actors who specialise in acting in mundane situations – like pretending to be beaten up by someone so the guy looks cool in front of his girlfriend. But when a client hires them to infiltrate a UFO cult that wants to steal her sister’s inn the gang have their work cut out. Given the charm Ueda bought to his first picture and the insane premise I cannot wait to see this.

Detention Canadian Premiere

Described as something of a cross between Pans Labyrinth and Silent Hill Detention is a tale of a woman struggling to confront the ghosts and monsters that have taken over her school. They had me at Silent Hill.

The Dark and the Wicked – International Premiere

Bryan Bertino rose to genre fame with his blistering horror debut The Strangers and now he’s back writing and directing a tale of rural horror. Marin Ireland stars fresh from her recent brilliant turn in the second season of The Umbrella Academy.

Kriya – World Premiere

A pulsating, caustically funny,  fever dream of a film Kriya (written and directed by New Delhi filmmaker Sidharth Srinivasan) casts a withering eye on the cycle of patriarchal violence in Indian society. 

Now the films are sadly geo-locked to Canada only but Fantasia Festival is wonderfully catering for fans all over the world by putting on a number of special events. These are hosted by zoom, completely free and accessible worldwide!

My pick of those is John Carpenter’s masterclass (he is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award), a talk with Simon Barrett (screen writer of The Guest and You’re Next both of which I adore) and a talk with Mike Flanagan on literary adaptations. I’m especially excited for that one given his haunting and deeply moving adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House and his criminally underrated adaptation of Doctor Sleep.

Fantasia 2020 runs 20 August to 2nd September and tickets are on sale now.