FANDOM just spent several days in movie heaven, attending world-renowned genre jamboree Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. We saw a whole heap of fantastic films, from crime thrillers, creature features and violent action flicks, to belated sequels, fantastical comedies, and brutal slasher horrors. The following are the best of the bunch…
The Night Comes For Us
The Night Comes For Us features the best action you’ll see in any movie this year. Fact. Set in Indonesia, the plot revolves around a criminal crew that have worked their way from the bottom to the top of the underworld. But which falls apart when their leader — Ito — mysteriously disappears. When he reappears years later, it sets off a chain of events that involves Triads, assassins, testicle trauma, and an innocent young girl caught in the crossfire.
Writer-director Timo Tjahjanto has previously collaborated with writer-director Gareth Evans, and The Night Comes For Us has much in common with the Welshman’s Raid movies, including stars Joe Taslim, Zack Lee and Iko Uwais, with the latter again co-ordinating the amazing action. Unfortunately, like The Raid 2, it’s also overburdened with unnecessary plot, which only serves to slow the pace as you await the next kill. But when they arrive, those kills are immense, with blood-soaked sequences occurring in a butchers shop, the back of a police van, and most memorably in a pool hall (see video above).
The best film FANDOM saw at Fantastic Fest is also one of the movies of the year. And the way to do a remake right. Check out our full review…
One Cut of the Dead
If Suspiria was the best serious movie at Fantastic Fest, this Japanese horror was the most fun. Which was reflected in the fact that it won the audience award. It’s best to go into One Cut of the Dead knowing nothing, so scroll down if you want to go into this one blind. Just make sure you stick around for the end credits…
Right, so somehow, writer-director Shinichiro Ueda has found something new to say in the zombie sub-genre. His horror-comedy kicks off with a single, seemingly unbroken 37-minute take that revolves around an army of the undead attacking a film crew, who themselves are shooting a zombie movie. Then the film ends. The credits roll. The audience scratches their collective heads. And everything changes as we’re taken back in time a month.
What follows is an exhilarating, hilarious, emotionally charged celebration of family and filmmaking. It does clever things with tone, pace and perspective, features virtuoso camerawork, and pretty much demands a second viewing. Trust us — this one will leave you with a huge grin on your face.
Bad Times at the El Royale
Drew Goddard’s belated follow-up to The Cabin in the Woods is a twisty-turny crime thriller that stars Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth and Jon Hamm, and owes a debt to Quentin Tarantino, in terms of character, dialogue, and plot. It’s also a blast…
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
The passion project that Terry Gilliam has spent 25 years working on finally hits screens in 2018. And after all that time… it’s something of a mess. At times an enjoyable mess. But a mess, nevertheless. Adam Driver plays Toby, a cynical filmmaker working for dollars rather than art, who suffers a crisis of confidence when he stumbles across his award-winning student film about Don Quixote. The discovery sends him on a tailspin, Toby journeying to his old locations, where the cobbler he cast as Don now believes himself to be the real Quixote, and Toby his loyal squire Sancho Panza.
The pair embark on their own odyssey, the cobbler searching for his mind; the director seeking the soul he left in Spain all those years ago. But it’s all a little self-indulgent and silly, the slapstick humour at times too broad, and the many, MANY digs at the film industry eventually becoming tedious. But as you’d expect with Gilliam, it’s visually inventive. And if nothing else, we’re glad he’s now got some closure on this one.
This belated sequel to John Carpenter’s genre-defining original opened the festival with a bang. Jamie Lee Curtis DESTROYS as Laurie Strode, who is very ready for Michael Myers’ return to Haddonfield…
Lords of Chaos
Told via voiceover and “based on truth and lies” (although mainly the book Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground by journalists Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind) this by turns shocking and hilarious movie revolves around the infamous Norwegian Black Metal scene that blossomed in the late 1980s.
The film focusses on the rise of the band Mayhem, the tensions that simmered between founder Euronymous and sometime member Varg, the burning of churches all over Norway, and the violence that followed and resulted in two dead. It’s a twisted tale, but director Jonas Akerlund effortlessly balances the light and the dark, while Rory Culkin and Emory Cohen expertly bring to life musicians who were as dangerous as they were ridiculous.
The new film from the aforementioned Gareth Evans — director of The Raid and The Raid 2 — is a very different beast. It’s a period piece that stars Dan Stevens as a troubled former missionary who travels to a remote island to rescue his sister from a cult. However, Apostle is no less violent, and maybe a bit more brutal…
Gaspar Noe’s new film is a mind-bending, soul-crushing examination of life, death and the destructive power of sangria. The film begins with a group of talking heads discussing sex, drugs and music, then performing an intense dance sequence. Meaning we get to know the characters through both their words, and their moves. Then the spiked punch they are drinking kicks in, and all hell breaks lose, the film turning into a waking nightmare of dizzying camera moves and unspeakable horrors.
As ever, Noe probes and pokes and provokes the audience, with scenes feeling like they last too long, and the action is at times impossible to make out. But the result is an incredible viewing experience; an assault on the eyes and ears that plays out to an amazing soundtrack of Daft Punk, Aphex Twin, Soft Cell, Giorgio Morodor, and The Rolling Stones. And with an ending that makes you re-evaluate everything that’s come before, you’ll be thinking about Climax for days.
Hold the Dark
This one has already hit Netflix, so this is a gentle reminder to check it out. Writer Macon Blair and director Jeremy Saulnier — the dynamic duo behind Blue Ruin and Green Room — return with a slow-burning thriller that asks tough questions, and offers no easy answers…
If the recently released Mandy wasn’t enough crazy Nic Cage for you, then Between Worlds has you covered. In this bizarre thriller, the never knowingly understated star plays Joe, a lonely trucker who saves a woman from being strangled and falls in love, only for the spirit of his deceased wife to possess his new girl’s daughter. And that’s when the weirdness starts.
The tone is all over the place, veering from comedy and thriller to melodrama and back again. The film frequently feels like bad David Lynch. But Cage is on fire — both metaphorically and literally — and the film allows him to fully embrace his bat-sh*t tendencies, making Between Worlds watchable throughout.
It’s soldiers vs. creatures in this ridiculous WWII action flick that pits a likeable group of American GIs against an army of monstrous Nazis. JJ Abrams produces Bad Robot’s first R-rated movie, which delivers in terms of both shocks and gore…
You Might be the Killer
The Final Girls did it better. Scream did it better. Tragedy Girls did it better. But if you want yet another affectionate deconstruction of the slasher genre, You Might be the Killer is kinda fun. And to be fair, it does try to do things differently, kicking off at the climax of the story, revealing the identity of the killer early in proceedings, and working its way back through the kills. Though in murdering characters before the audience gets to know them, it’s hard to ever become invested in their plight.
Fran Kranz is likeable as Sam, the head counsellor at a summer camp, who spends much of the movie on the run from a crazed killer. While Alyson Hannigan is his equally likeable friend, an expert in horror movies, who in turn spends the movie on the other end of a phone to Sam, giving him life-preserving advice. And while You Might be the Killer spends a bit too much time winking at the audience, it’s nevertheless an enjoyable watch that features some fantastic kills.