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Fantasia 2012 Wrap-Up!

And so- another edition of the Fantasia Film Festival is in the books. Truth be told, going into the festival this year I was a little unsure as to how it was going to go down, as the films on the schedule were a mystery to me. I had seen a few of them (EXCISION & V/H/S) at Sundance, and had heard of a few others, but the majority of them were total unknowns.

While there may not have been any huge hits like ATTACK THE BLOCK last year, or INGLORIOUS BASTERDS the year before, this year’s edition of Fantasia was a lot of fun and I saw lots of intriguing flicks that you’ll no doubt be hearing a lot about in the coming months. Some of them, like SUSHI GIRL, picked up solid distribution deals- some (V/H/S, EXCISION) had them before coming in- and some haven’t found a home yet, but no matter what keep your eyes peeled for the majority of them.

The following a few of my favorite flicks from the fest, followed by links to all of reviews. Peruse at your leisure.

UNDER THE BED

Steven C. Miller’s UNDER THE BED was a real sleeper. Having only shown once at the smaller J.A De Seve cinema, in a way the screening struck me more as a test screening than a premiere, with the producers and director in attendance to see how the film played with an audience. I loved it, with the eighties Amblin’ style vibe, and sweet camaraderie between the two brothers. While I hear ten minutes or so are coming out of the film, even in its current form it felt pretty polished.

CHAINED

Jennifer Lynch’s CHAINED is probably the most disturbing film to play the fest, and it took me a few days to really digest it and get my feelings together enough to tap out a review. An extremely well-acted, non-exploitative film, CHAINED is way more HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER than SAW, and Vincent D’Onofrio is fantastic. While violent, the NC-17 rating is a joke, and I hope it doesn’t keep it from getting a decent release.

GRABBERS

GRABBERS is another SHAUN OF THE DEAD-style horror comedy, but with its top-notch cast, decent FX, and great premise (aliens being allergic to alcohol landing in Ireland) I had a blast with this start to finish. A pretty polished piece of work, I’m sure it’ll be hitting theaters or at least DVD soon.

DRAGON

Or rather- WU XIA, Peter Chan’s bonkers take on HISTORY OF VIOLENCE/ LES MISERABLES/ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN is among the best martial arts epics to emerge in recent memory. Once again, this proves that Donnie Yen is the most dynamic name working in the genre, but even if Kung-Fu isn’t your thing, the story and artfulness of the direction will make it worth your while.

BLACK’S GAME

A techno-fueled journey into the heart of Iceland’s drug-trade circa 1999, this Nicolas Refn produced thriller doesn’t disappoint. More polished than most of the films to play the fest, I could easily see BLACK’S GAME catching on in a big way if the right distributor picks it up. I had a blast with it- and let me warn you, drug-epics don’t come any darker.

OTHER FANTASIA 2012 FILMS REVIEWED

 

 

 

 

 

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