Fantasia Fest 2023 curtain raiser: 10 movies we are excited to watch (Part 1)

Still images from Devils and Late Night with the Devil playing at Fantasia Fest 2023
Still images from Devils and Late Night with the Devil playing at Fantasia Fest 2023. Pic credit: Images courtesy of Fantasia

After taking a year off to have a celebratory festival entirely in-person, Fantasia Fest has reopened its virtual doors to the press.

This means Monsters and Critics will make its epic return to the Canadian festival in 2023. We adored films such as Alien on Stage and Hellbender and are highly anticipating the next phase of coverage.

The festival is alive with many offerings for the weeks ahead. The event has three waves of programming of high-concept genre pieces.

And naturally, Nicolas Cage appears with a movie premiere at the festival, and an award will be given to the eccentric performer. It would not be a genre festival without a Nicolas Cage movie.

With so much to watch, Monsters and Critics has prepared a two-part curtain raiser about films we are excited to watch at Fantasia Fest 2023.

Here is what to keep an eye out for at this year’s festival.

10. Devils

Still image of Devils.
Still image of Devils. Pic credit: Courtesy of Fantasia

Keeping it within the theme of Nicolas Cage movies comes a Korean thriller in the vein of Face/Off. The film sounds like it takes inspiration from vengeance masterpieces like I Saw the Devil and injects some John Woo spirit into the mixture.

The film involves a serial killer with a Freaky Friday situation involving a relentless detective. After somehow changing bodies, the detective hunts him down. Fantasia describes the film as an “over-the-top thrill ride,” and we can’t wait to experience the body swap madness.

9. Home Invasion

Image from experimental documentary Home Invasion.
Image from experimental documentary Home Invasion. Pic credit: Courtesy of Fantasia

Sometimes reading a premise ignites the imagination. Well, with Home Invasion, our curiosity is peaked to an extreme. The documentary is described as a “nightmarish essay” and “an experimental horror film,” all done through the point of view of a “peephole.”

There is a lot to unpack with that sentence. Still, the possibilities set the mind on fire. The experimental documentary was said to be crafted by Graeme Arnfield during the Coronavirus pandemic.

8. What You Wish For

Image from What You Wish For starring Nick Stahl.
Image from What You Wish For, starring Nick Stahl. Pic credit: Courtesy of Fantasia

It’s been years since we have heard much about Nick Stahl. This writer was a huge fan of HBO’s Carnivale (which starred Stahl), a strange fantastical thriller series that blended otherworldly David Lynchian ideas into a period piece. Here, Nick Stahl stars in Nicholas Tomnay’s follow-up to The Perfect Host.

The film titled What You Wish For is described as a “Hitchcockian, edge-of-your-seat experience,” brought to life by the producers of The Florida Project. We are curious if Nick Stahl is making a career comeback.

7. Lovely, Dark, and Deep

Georgina Campbell in Lovely, Dark, and Deep.
Georgina Campbell in Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Pic credit: Courtesy of Fantasia

Midnight Mass is easily one of the most brilliant horror shows in recent memory. The series, helmed by Mike Flanagan, combined genuine horror with fierce commentary about weaponizing religion for evil. Teresa Sutherland was a writer on Midnight Mass and made her filmmaking debut with Lovely, Dark, and Deep.

The film stars Georgina Campbell, who recently knocked it out of the park with her role in Barbarian. The plot does not matter; anyone involved with Midnight Mass has our attention. Even so, the film is said to be about a park ranger who works at a site with mysterious vanishings, and she begins having time-warping visions.

6. Late Night with the Devil

David Dastmalchian in Late Night with the Devil.
David Dastmalchian in Late Night with the Devil. Pic credit: Courtesy of Fantasia.

David Dastmalchian has a fascinating career. As an actor, he was a recognizable face in commercials throughout the 2000s, then made minor appearances in films such as The Dark Knight. The industry took significant notice of him as a performer after appearing in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, where he portrayed Polka-Dot Man.

Now, he appears in a horror film called Late Night with the Devil, a movie described as a “horror treat in which a live television broadcast in 1977 goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil into the nation’s living rooms.” This is speculation, but the film sounds like Johnny Carson meets John Carpenter.

This is just a tiny sample of what to expect at Fantasia, and be sure to stay tuned for part 2 of our most anticipated films at Fantasia Fest 2023.

Fantasia Fest launches on July 20 in Montreal, Quebec.

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