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Full 2011 Fantasia Film Festival Review Breakdown!

The Fantasia Film Festival has finally come to a close last weekend in Montreal, Canada. There were so many features screening – over 130 to approximate – that it took us a bit of time to play “catch up.” But we’re finally here at the end of the road…

Beyond the break you’ll find our full festival roundup featuring links to full reviews, along with mini-reviews for all of the films we were able to catch. Three weeks, 130 features, it’s impossible to see it all – but I’ll be damned if we didn’t put a dent in it!




CHOP: ““Chop delivers on all sides by jam-packing the movie with laughs, gore and some insane twists that are guaranteed to get the room in a buzz…you owe it to yourself to watch this with a group of friends so you can all chatter about how f*cked it truly is.

RETREAT: “‘Retreat’ is an intense, claustrophobic mind trip that messes with your perception of the truth from start to finish. It nostalgically brings back memories of old Roman Polanski thrillers and explores what it means to be scared, confused, and helpless in the arms of a stranger.

MORITURIS: “With an FX master working his magic, I was sure that there would be something redeemable in an otherwise putrid film. Boy was I wrong. Morituris has landed firmly in my mental list of the ‘worst films of all time.’

A LONELY PLACE TO DIE: “This genre mash-up is a riveting circus of a movie that refuses to ever ease off the pedal. It’s so badass that Gilbey ignores the rules of cinema and risks it all to deliver a nonstop punch in the face that will have you on the edge of your seat from minute one.

THE THEATRE BIZARRE: “Well-paced, absolutely hilarious, scary, bloody, grotesque and demented, Theatre Bizarre lives up to its name. Shockingly carrying only a few missteps, an audience is recommended for one of those true movie-going experiences that’ll end with cheers and applause.

THE DEVIL’S ROCK: “Although most of the gore comes off screen, and it’s hefty on the exposition, ‘The Devil’s Rock’ is a satisfying little movie that’s a perfect rental on one of those boring Sunday nights.

VAMPIRE: “The ingredients for a Martin-like cult classic are certainly present…but this is one of those movies that inexplicably abandons compelling subplots in favor of boring ones. Vampire is too self-indulgent to be taken seriously. It’s a film with a complete disregard for its audience.

RED STATE: “ ‘Red State’ isn`t particularly fun to watch with a group. In fact, it`s not particularly fun at all. Perhaps if the horror aspects had been more prominent, instead of repeatedly shoved to the background in favor of heavy wads of dialogue, Smith would have had a future cult hit on his hands.

ATTACK THE BLOCK: “A heavy dose of dry, witty humor mixed with engaging action and a score by Basement Jaxx that will appeal to fans of Daft Punk’s ‘Tron: Legacy’ work, ‘Attack The Block’ is an unquestionable homerun and the kind of film that doesn’t come around often enough. Cornish manages to take what could be unlikeable antagonists and transforms them to heroes through unlikely, random circumstances and razor-sharp wit, making him seem like the British Shane Black. It’s a shame that the dialect is what the industry is buzzing about as the film looks for a distributor, and not how fun and refreshing an experience it is.

SAINT: “ ‘Sint’ is a ridiculous film that you’ll either be into or not by the mere mention of its premise. As over-the-top as it is, it could have been a little more insane – I kind of wish St. Nick would have ridden horseback with a Gatling gun, mowing down everything in his path – and the third act is abrupt and anti-climactic. Still, there’s something to be said about zombie pirates with hooks and spears charging down the streets of Amsterdam with a dead bishop in command, wearing a gaudy Mitre.

COLD FISH: “To give away anymore plot points would be criminal as Sono takes the audience on a weaving road filled with bumps, sharp turns and plenty of gasps.

TROLLHUNTER: “With all of the troll roaring, people chasing, and mythological elements, The Troll Hunter is easily the Jurassic Park of first-person horror.

PHASE 7: “ ‘Fase 7’ works as a dark, apocalyptic comedy because it accepts its threat as being real as the situation progresses. Although its basis is deeply rooted in a conspiracy theory that began in the early twentieth century, anyone watching doesn’t need to be well-versed in Red Scares of the 40s and 50s and the development of internationalism to appreciate what Goldbart is getting at; in fact, very little exposition is actually given. Pulsating with the synth sounds of early Carpenter flicks, ‘Fase 7’ might not be the ultimate post-apocalyptic tale, but its performances and sense of humor make it worth a watch.

THE DIVIDE: “ ‘The Divide’ is a terrifying and bleak vision of the future whose performances and images will stick with you for days after you watch it. Gens’ direction and Laurent Barès cinematography create a moody, claustrophobic atmosphere that never feels stale despite its closed-quarters setting. The tone is vile and the characters devolve into sickening states of being, but the reality-based approach to Gens’ end of days makes for one of the best apocalyptic tales in quite a while.

KIDNAPPED: “ ‘Kidnapped’ goes gratuitously dark in the final reel, exiting on a brutal note of sexual assault and bloody survival that’s excitedly executed, but almost predictable in its overkill. Vivas raises so much hell during the picture, the sucker punch conclusion is drowned out by all the noise, with a grand summation of malevolence crippled by artless anguish. Kidnapped endeavors to leave viewers a quivering mess by the time the end credits arrive (scored ironically with upbeat music), but all that’s truly valued from the picture is its hearty cinematographic achievement.

LITTLE DEATHS: “ ‘Little Deaths’ is a tense and disturbing exploration of the darker side of sexuality – more specifically, sexual humiliation – whose success varies over the course of its three vignettes due to how wildly the stories shift tone without a proper framing device.

IRONCLAD: “With the standoff covering months of stasis and starvation, English extends Ironclad past its expiration date. After a rousing opener, the picture settles into a routine of exposition and conflict that weakens the overall pace. It limps to a conclusion, yet Ironclad sustains a convincing posture of heroism and self-defense. Though derivative, it remains hearty and vividly destructive to the final moments.

BURKE & HARE: “ ‘Burke and Hare’ is poorly constructed and painfully unfunny, underutilizing Pegg and depending on funny faces to carry the entire film.

DETENTION: “‘Detention’ can be best appreciated as a live-action cartoon, and is more energetic and fun than the last couple of ‘Scary Movie’ sequels. It isn’t really a middle-of-the-road sort of film; you’re either going to really love the ridiculous fast-paced nature of this horror-sci-fi-comedy or you’ll really despise Kahn’s self-indulgence and his attempt to bombard you with more than you can mentally process in one sitting. There’s a lot to like that I didn’t mention because I feel saying much more than I already have will ruin how insane the film is. Despite being a mess, ‘Detention’ is mesmerizing and something you definitely won’t be able to take yours eyes off of.

MIDNIGHT SON: “This slow-paced vampire film puts the boot to most (other vampire flicks) and deserves much more praise than it will get. Strangely quiet on the PR front (this came out of left field), Midnight Son is an impeccable, daring and undoubtedly remarkable debut.

THE WOMAN: “Potent and disturbing, it’s the sort of movie serious, open-minded horror fans live for… you`ve got a future cult classic on your hands.

ABSENTIA: “ ‘Absentia,’ Mike Flanagan’s Kickstarter-funded horror flick, takes its time setting up a scary and somewhat realistic scenario dealing with uncertainty, loss and the psychological implications of being overwhelmed by both at the same time. And yet, it still finds room to competently squeeze in a supernatural element.



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