Fantastic Fest 2017 was an abnormal affair. Controversies caused a headlining film to drop out and massively impacted the festival’s atmosphere. Many across the internet demanded a change in the environment of Fantastic Fest moving forward, and though attendees had difficult conversations regarding the future of the festival, it is unknown if they’ll have an impact in the future.
Nevertheless, Indie filmmakers from across the world arrived at the festival and brought with them a bevy of weird and wonderful genre movies. A diverse group of perspectives from America, the U.K., South Africa and more led to some, well, fantastic movies.
1. Anna and the Apocalypse
It’s hard to imagine a more fun time at the movies than “Anna and the Apocalypse,” a — take a deep breath with us here now — Scottish zombie Christmas teen musical. Each song is an earworm of its own right, and Game of Thrones’ Paul Kaye gives the performance of his life as a deranged principal. Though it’s yet to sign a deal for American distribution rights, “Anna” is a wonderful, hilarious romp that will have no trouble appealing to audiences.
Bold, furious and gory as hell, “Revenge” is a brutally violent destruction of American misogyny. Told through the guise of a typical Hollywood action film, it takes viewers on a wild ride that will make anyone uncomfortable. The film’s lead, played by French actress Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, grows from the type of seemingly-naive beautiful woman seen in the male-dominated action genre into a badass of her own right. “Revenge” will premiere in U.S. theaters in early 2018 and will change the way you watch action films.
After directing the best music videos for some of the best pop stars in the past two decades, Joseph Kahn returns to the film industry with battle rap film “Bodied,” his first in six years.
Inherently offensive, the movie fits in with Seth Rogen’s “Sausage Party” as a film so rude it swings all the way back around to being woke. Kahn shows anger at cultural appropriation, liberal bubbles and the general ignorance of white people, among other issues. As it covers almost every controversial topic, Kahn has admitted to having issues finding a distributor in America that will release “Bodied” to wide audiences without toning it down. Hopefully it works out, because the film in its current state is a great time at the movies and a worthwhile social commentary of its own right.
4. Five Fingers for Marseilles
South African film “Five Fingers for Marseilles” is a spaghetti western in the style of Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone, but almost entirely starring people of color. Beautifully captured and wonderfully told, “Five Fingers” tells the somber tale of five residents of Marseilles, South Africa. Terrorized by white police and typical western gangsters, they grow up and grow apart, until they’re forced to work together once again to save their town. By taking such a familiar genre to the other side of the planet, it’s a bit of culture shock, but the perfect demonstration of the need for diverse voices in art.
5. The Endless
The third movie from Indie horror duo Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, “The Endless” mashes together time-twisty sci-fi and cult horror films. The directors star in the film as a bickering pair of brothers whose banter continuously lightens up the darkness that springs from dealing with a death cult. Describing the plot in any more detail would be giving away too much, but the story of these two brothers’ trip into the home territory of a cult takes twists and turns along the way to a surprisingly moving story. It will find a limited release in early 2018 and deserves to be sought out.