Fantasia Film Festival 2021 – Genre-Style Reviews & Remote Thoughts

It has been another crazy year of film festivals, and one that we have always loved & supported out of Montreal is the long-running genre festival Fantasia Festival. Both Antonio Quintero & myself (Jason) are fans of the bizarre, having also attended Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas many times. We are hoping next year that both us can attend in person, but for now we’re at our respective home offices checking out the 2021 content.

The following are our own reviews of Fantasia product that you can now stream virtually!

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INDEMNITY (South Africa)

INDEMNITY is a new South African action thriller. Theo Abrams (Jarrid Geduld) is a former firefighter suffering from PTSD in the aftermath of a terrible fire. The PTSD has put a strain on his marriage. At the same time his wife Angela (Nicole Fortuin) a journalist, learns about a secret conspiracy from a South African Weapons Manufacturers. One that involves trying to topple governments in the African continent.  This investigation leads to Theo being framed for a crime he did not commit. He is being chased by the police and a team of assassins. The streets of South Africa are going to explode while trying to chase him.

South Africa has been making great action thrillers in the last few years, this is a nation you should pay attention to when it comes to action movies, one of the biggest examples being FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES. Now INDEMNITY continues the action streak from South Africa. This film is a stick of dynamite with an ignited fuse and one constant chase as he is being hunted by the police and by hired killers. Theo gets no rest in this movie as he is in a constant state of paranoia. It seems that everywhere he goes there is a pile of corpses left behind and he gets the blame, even if he only kills a few of them. Geduld is great action hero material. There are some dangerous stunts, especially one where Theo hangs from a window of a high rise hotel with a blanket.

INDEMNITY was like an HBO original action movie that played late nights in the 1990s. I can wait to see more action films from South Africa like this one.

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KING CAR (Brazil)

If you are a fan of weird sci fi films, the Brazilian film KING CAR is one you should seek. The story of a man named Uno that since he was a little kid been able to communicate with cars. His family runs a taxi service KING CAR taxi in a small town in Brazil. When he grows up, he disappoints his dad as he doesn’t want to continue the family business. He wants to work in the field of agriculture. His dad is not happy as he needs help, the taxi business is not doing well. Especially now that the local government has pass an ordinance to ban older car from driving on the street. Uno decides to help his dad’s taxi business. He recruits his crazy; but genius uncle to help redesign his dad’s taxis. They come up with a way to give the cars the ability to communicate with all humans. They install a voice box in the cars which allow the Taxis to communicate with everyone. The new talking cars become popular around town and KING CAR taxi company goes back to the top. Things take a turn for the worse as the cars feel superior to the humans and are secretly trying to take over the world. 

KING CAR is a sci fi nightmare film about the fear of technology taking over the world. The film is a low budget film that uses a clever idea and runs with it. I love the low-tech design of these smart cars. KING CAR also has a great surrealist look through the movies. Such a part where the cars are turning humans into automatons. It seems they used dancers in the scenes with the possessed humans. Uno is a good character, but the star of this movie is his uncle, he is like a villain from a Universal Horror film, He does a great job portraying a mad scientist.  A good film about a new type of evolution. This film is one for the lovers of weird science fiction. It also has great metaphors about nature fighting back against technology.  KING CAR is insane, and I love it.

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KRATT (Estonia)

KRATT is a fun Estonian Family Horror Comedy, it immediately made it into my list of favorite films at 2021 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL.  KRATT is about a duo brother and sister that are left by their parents in their grandmother’s house in the countryside, while they take a vacation. The parents want them to stop being on the internet all the time. So, they take away their smartphones and leave them at their grandmother’s place where there is no internet. The kids quickly get bored of country living and having to do so many chores. They learn of the legend of the Kratt a magical creature that takes the soul of someone and turns into something like a classical Voodoo Zombie. The KRATT will do whatever its master says. The only problem is the KRATT constantly for work to do and eventually there is a point there is nothing left to do. This causes the KRATT to go into a murdering rampage. The kids decide to try to summon this creature by summoning Satan himself to provide them with a soul. The only problem is that the soul of their grandmother has been taken over by the KRATT. Now they have zombie grandma doing all their shores, exploding her farts and maiming people around the village. The kids must find a way to stop grandma. 

This was like Peter Jackson went back to his early horror roots and decided to make a kid’s movie at the same time. This is like 2 spoons of Peter Jackson with a spoonful of Joe Dante via Eastern Europe. The film is also a parody of how much our lives are dominated by social apps and the internet. The gore is disturbing and hilarious. The crazy things this zombie grandma does with her power like cooking people into pizzas and flying in the air with the explosion of her farts are hilarious. At the same time being a heartfelt kid’s film. This is the movie that Nickelodeon fears to make; but should make. If you love weird comedies, you should look at KRATT. 

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AGNES (United States)

AGNES the new film from director Mickey Reece; I have seen his previous film CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER at Fantastic Fest. This film is a little more ambitious and maybe a little too ambitious. The films are about a convent where one of the nuns has become possessed by a demonic force. Furniture and utensils start flying while the possessed nun is calling all her fellow nun’s whores. The Vatican calls disgraced priest to conduct an exorcism of the nun, he is joined by a rookie priest that is near taking his bows.  They quickly realize their way above their head and call a former priest to help them exorcise the demon. This started like a dark horror comedy from Abel Ferrera with hilarious dialogue; but then it makes a change thru the halfway point and it becomes a serious drama about being a trauma survivor. Most of the characters in the first half are gone and that story is forgotten. We get an entire new movie you were not expecting.  

                I went into AGNES expecting an Exorcism nun-exploitation film, and you kind of get that; but then AGNES turned into a full-on drama about surviving a traumatic experience. It turns into a full blown drama. You feel like someone switched the movie you were watching with another film.  I loved this movie, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being a divisive film among audiences, because of its change in tone.  This is not a bad film; but I am warning you the moment in which the movie makes a switch is going to give you whiplash. If you’re expecting the rest of the movie to be like the first part, you’re going to be disappointed. Just pay attention to the great acting in the 2nd half of the movie. This was pleasantly surprising. When it makes the switch, it turns into a better film. 

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Satoshi Kan: Illusionist (Japan)

My first documentary at Fantasia Fest is SATOSHI KAN: ILLUSIONIST about the life of manga artist and filmmaker Satoshi Khan, the filmmakers behind some of the amazing, imaginative, and influential anime film ever, such as PERFECT BLUE, TOKYO GODFATHERS, MILLENIUM ACTRESS and PAPRIKA. Sadly, he passed away from Cancer at the age of 46, leaving behind a small, but incredible filmography. This documentary is a homage from his anime colleagues and famous directors from around the world. You will be amazed at the people he inspired. 

This would be a great starter to the works of Satoshi Kan. You get to see all the great clips from his amazing film. Once you see the image of one of his films you will want to immediately see it after this documentary.  Satoshi was an artist that we are just getting to know as his film didn’t make Ghibli money; but they were critical darling.  if you’re a fan of Satoshi, then you’re going to love a celebration of his work. This is a great film for both people that have never seen his work and his fans. An amazing film work for fans of anime and people trying to learn more about this animated art form.  

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When I Consume You (USA, dir. Perry Blackshear)

A drama horror film about two siblings Daphne and Wilson Shaw. They live together in a small apartment in the city. Daphne is a fighter who is always looking out for her brother Wilson. He is a man child that can barely function in society. One bad when Wilson learns he didn’t get the teaching job he applied for; he also finds his sister dead in their apartment. Everyone thinks that she died from an overdose. Wilson says his sister’s death was no accident. He is going to find the person that murder his sister. His investigation leads him to discover that his death was supernatural. 

When I CONSUME YOU is GHOST meets DEATH WISH, Wilson trains to become a better fighter as he learns a supernatural being is responsible for his sister’s death. Now he must beat this creature with a mix of magic and martial arts. The fights in this are not fancy and good looking. The fights in I CONSUME YOU are close quarters and brutal. I don’t want to tell you much about the creature in this film; but I can tell you its eyes are the creepiest things I have seen in horror in a while. In the film we see the growth of Wilson from a Man child to a badass supernatural fighter. I found this to be the soul of the film that grows from a personal loss.  

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies

ON THE THIRD DAY (dir. Daniel de la Vega)

ON THE THIRD DAY opens with a mysterious man driving through a truck driving the cargo of a large wooden box, in the highway there is a stranded motorist waving for help and in the opposite direction there is a woman and her son driving in their car. All these are involved in an accident that unleashes something supernatural in the box. ON THE THIRD DAY the mother CECILIA (Mariana Anghileri) wakes up without her son or any memory of after the events of the car crash.  Everyone thinks that she did something to her son. CECILIA escapes from police custody to find her son. She is now being chased by the police and her ex-husband. At the same time wherever she goes somebody mysteriously dies. A doctor is trying to help gain her memory. The search for the truth about her missing son will lead her to meet a terrifying creature that was released in the accident.

ON THE THIRD DAY was a great Argentinian Horror film that is an amazing use of its narrative. At the beginning you think it is one type of film and then you discover it’s another type of film. This film has so many great layers. I love the mystery of this film. You think one character is evil; but you eventually realized it’s just clumsy. This feature is an amazing surprise and I highly recommend you read as little as possible about this film. I may have already given you too many clues. 

For more information on Fantasia and how/where to stream or attend this year’s festival in Montreal, visit the official site!

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