Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the United States, kicks off tomorrow and /Film will be in attendance. Soon, we’ll be neck-deep in horror, fantasy, action, and general all-around weirdness and we’ll be sharing with you what you must see and what you must seek out. Few film festivals encourage curiosity and being adventurous quite like this one.
But before things kick off, our team came together to talk about the movies we want to see above all others. Sure, we’re going to discover new favorites and hidden gems during the fest, but these are the movies we’re prioritizing.
Director: Gareth Evans
Synopsis: The year is 1905. Thomas Richardson travels to a remote island to rescue his sister after she’s kidnapped by a mysterious religious cult demanding a ransom for her safe return. It soon becomes clear that the cult will regret the day it baited this man, as he digs deeper and deeper into the secrets and lies upon which the commune is built.
Why We’re Excited: Gareth Evans is best known for directing The Raid and The Raid 2, you know, films that belong in the “best action movies ever made” conversation. But in-between those two masterpieces, he co-directed something else that was awfully unforgettable: “Safe Haven,” a lengthy short film and the centerpiece of the horror anthology V/H/S 2. In 30 minutes, Evans delivered one of the most visceral and downright terrifying horror tales of the 21st century. So the thought of him diving into the genre with a proper budget and a recognizable cast (led by Dan Stevens) is a thrilling prospect. Evans has conquered the action movie. It’s time for him to brand the horror genre with his signature style. (Jacob Hall)
Bad Times at the El Royale
Director: Drew Goddard
Synopsis: Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption… before everything goes to hell.
Why We’re Excited: Drew Goddard is an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and successful television producer…and he is also the mad man who directed the instant-classic The Cabin in the Woods, a horror satire that eviscerated its own genre in a way that could only be accomplished by someone who loved it a great deal. Bad Times at the El Royale looks to be a very different beast – a more straightforward thriller about strangers all in one place with bad intentions – but honestly, I don’t need Goddard to deliver something as batshit nuts as Cabin. All I need is another film from this clever and surprising filmmaker who shouldn’t have to wait years between helming feature films. (Jacob Hall)
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