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Another top tier celebration of genre cinema is on the horizon with the 2022 outing of the Fantasia International Film Festival. Once again some of the finest genre films in the world will gather in beautiful Montreal (July 14th – August 3rd) with over 130 feature films and 200+ shorts from all over the world. There are entries in fan-favorite franchises like the Ringu and Ultraman series, A-grade genre directors like Takashi Miike and Mickey Reece, and films spanning every genre from cosmic horror to action to everything in between.
Here are 10 titles you absolutely can’t miss, cinematic outings from all over the world that will be setting the conversation over the next year and beyond.
Glorious (dir: Rebekah McKendry; World Premiere)
Notable horror podcaster and scholar Rebekah McKendry is taking the helm with the genre-bending Glorious. The film stars True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten as Wes, a man who arrives at an isolated rest top after a breakup only to find himself trapped inside a bathroom stall adjacent to a mysterious figure. Also starring the excellent J.K. Simmons, the film has literally every element to guarantee a good time (and you’re sure to be talking about it afterwards). Don’t miss it.
The Mole Song: Final (dir: Takashi Miike; North American Premiere)
I’m going to be straightforward about this: if it’s Takashi Miike, you should see it. One of our most prolific and original filmmakers returns with the conclusion to his Mole Song Trilogy. It sees mole Reiji’s infiltration of a yakuza clan hit up against said clan’s attempt to import meth pasta. The film unites Miike once again with writer Kankuro Kudo, a pairing that produced the wonderful and inimitable Ichi The Killer, and it’s one of this writer’s two most highly anticipated films in this year’s exceptional Fantasia slate. Miike. Kudo. Yakuza. There’s no way you’re not walking out of this one with a perverse grin.
Moloch (dir: Nico van den Brink; International Premiere)
Dutch filmmaker Nico van den Brink’s first feature follows Betriek, who spends her days living at the edge of a bog in the Netherlands. She comes to realize that she’s being hunted by something ancient and dangerous. It’s a moody, atmospheric outing by the award-winning filmmaker, and any time ancient horrors are invoked by a talented filmmaker it’s exactly that sort of larger-than-life experience that cinema was made for.
Country Gold ( dir: Mickey Reece, World Premiere)
Mickey Reece is gunning for the title of Most Prolific Top Tier Genre Filmmaker, because he’s bringing another great genre outing (after finding success in the last few years with the spectacular Agnes and the widely beloved Climate of the Hunter). Here, he follows George Jones (Minari’s Ben Hall) as he goes out on the town with Troyal Brooks, a country music star in the mid-90’s, on the eve of George becoming cryogenically frozen. It’s a wonderful, emotionally complex outing and anything Reece does it talented. Prepare to be impacted in a great way.
Polaris (dir: KC Carthew; World Premiere)
Polaris is set in an icy post-apocalyptic future, and we follow Sumi and her adoptive polar bear mother in the Yukon. She meets increasingly dangerous enemies, finds allies, and challenges escalate in a Mad Max-inspired tale with an all female-identifying cast. Most excitingly is the fact that it’s a very visually driven film in a lovely, bleak setting—cinematic par excellence. Don’t miss this one, it’s exciting (and it is opening Fantasia for a very good reason).
Shin Ultraman (dir: Shinji Higuchi; North American Premiere)
Shin Godzilla was a revelatory return to Godzilla’s horror roots, a bold vision from director Shinji Higuchi and co-director Hideaki Anno that say the King of Monsters emerge from Japan as a decimating titan. Higuchi and Anno reunite for another reimagining, this time Ultraman (with Anno scripting). Ultraman, another iconic character in the tokusatsu tradition, here returns as the extraterrestrial hero battling hordes of massive beasties as the Earth’s adopted defender. Already premiered in Japan to strong acclaim, it’s guaranteed to be a massively entertaining time.
Swallowed (dir: Carter Smith; International Premiere)
Queer horror outing Swallowed is an LGBTQ body-horror yarn that takes place in a remote area on the border of Maine and Canada. Two friends spend a final night together, a night full of drugs, bugs, and oddities lead by the ever-wonderful Jena Malone and Mark Patton (of Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge fame). The bottom line: it’s great, they’re great, check it out.
Sadako DX (dir: Hisashi Kimura; World Premiere)
J-horror is one of cinema’s most interesting and influential horror tradition, and Ringu’s Sadako is one of its most terrifying and memorable horror antagonists. Sadako DX updates her story, with the entity’s curse mutating over the internet and spreading quickly. The film updates the series’ universe in the modern times with a self-aware sense of humor to boot. Basically, it’s a new Sadako outing and I can think of few more exciting propositions than that.
Next Sohee (dir: July Jung; North American Premiere)
After a stunning Cannes debut, Next Sohee is coming to North America. Sohee is a talented high-school student who succumbs to depression after being pressured to take employment at a terrible call center. Detective Yoo-jin puts all his resources towards making sure this type of predatory situation doesn’t happen again. It’s a wonderful, tense, beautifully directed outing that will cap an exceptional set of festival entries.
Bodies Bodies Bodies (dir: Halina Reijn; Special Screening)
Fantasia’s closing night is full of top shelf genre outings, here including A24’s horror entry Bodies Bodies Bodies. A simple party game at a remote family gathering, a game that leads to murder… Halina Reijn’s film premiered to near universal acclaim at SXSW and stars a tremendous cast (like Shiva Baby’s Rachel Sennott and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm standout Maria Bakalova). It’s going to be a big deal here, so be sure to check it out.