Ricky D, Michael Ryan and Edgar Chaput are quite familiar with the Fantasia Film Festival, having attended the event for years (some of us since the very beginning); so we thought it would be wise to list our favorite films from the 2012 line up. Enjoy!
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Edgar Chaput’s Top 3
3-Game of Werewolves (2012, Juan Martinez Moreno)
A review for this film has already has already been published (link here), but the short version is that director Martinez Moreno and his stellar cast deliver one of the most engaging, hysterical, action packed and wonderfully shot werewolf movies in years. Not this Wolf has a film involving these nightmarish hunters been so entertaining. Its greatest flaw is the script, which makes some bizarre decisions as to character motivations, yet any qualms about why certain people are doing what are squashed by the joy out of seeing Moreno’s interpretation of the universe of lycanthropy… (read the full review)
2-Night of Nightmares (2012, Buddy Giovinazzo)
Small credit should go to Fantasia festival co-organizer Mitch Davis for one of this film’s memorable elements. He knows both the director Buddy and co-star Marc Senter and suggested to the director that he consider the star of one of last year’s best films, Brawler. The result, when paired with the delightful and whimsy Elissa Dowling, is pure charisma, with performances that make it wonderfully easy to care about the two very different protagonists who are forced to stick together when the country home they spend in the night in proves to be haunted by less than benevolent ghosts. This film differs from the number 3 film on my list in that, while it is very funny at times with brilliant performances, it honestly does pack a decent amount of scares and genuinely weird stuff to make viewers bite rattle their teeth and sit on the edge of their seats.
1-Cold Blooded (2012, Jason Lapeyre)
Send all your hate mail to email@example.com. My favourite film of this year’s festival is not a weird little Japanese film that dumbfounds mainstream audiences, or a typically sensational and audacious masterpiece out of South Korea, or even a so-called brave American indie darling. First, the film is Canadian (Yes, an English-language Canadian film I really like) and, second, treads a fair amount of familiar territory. What Jason Lapeyre’s Cold Blooded does have however, is a beautiful female lead who is also an intelligent actress (Zoie Palmer), a hilarious sidekick who feels believable and worthy of the viewer’s empathy (Ryan Robbins) a great villain (William MacDonald), and a series of increasingly violent scenes that keep the film and viewers on edge, even though Lapeyre makes certain we laugh along at least a little bit. By the end, the characters have gone through so much, it feels okay to breath a sigh of relief along with them. (read the full review)
Michael Ryan’s Top 5
1a) Resolution (2012, Justin Benson)
This year, Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead took apart the horror genre and put it back together again like master Swiss watchmakers. No wonder that the Swiss film festival Neuchâtel was the second film festival in the world to play their deeply original horror masterpiece Resolution. Beyond being a surgical meta reexamination of the genre, Resolution is a terrifying film in its own right… (read the full review)
1b) Chained (2012, Jennifer Lynch)
While Resolution took apart haunted houses, Jennifer Lynch and Vincent D’Onofrio burrowed deep into the disturbing psyche of a serial killer in Chained to see how a monster is born. To their credit, neither director nor actor let their serial killer Bob use his horrific past as an excuse. Being a monster is a choice that Bob makes every day. His past is a reason, never an excuse… (read the full review)
3) The Human Race (2012, Paul Hough)
Made on the kind of budget that wouldn’t even meet a day’s worth of craft and services on most bloated Hollywood blockbusters, The Human Race is rich in something that Hollywood seems desperately poor of lately, an original idea – and the courage to follow that idea to its natural conclusion even, hell especially, if that means turning one-legged actor Eddie McGee into an action hero. Find Paul Hough’s film and watch it… (read the full review)
4. Sushi Girl (2012, Kern Saxton)
Possibly the greatest cult cast ever assembled to tackle a genre film make this more than a simple Tarantino clone. Director Kern Saxton’s bleak film skins Reservoir Dogs and wears it like a cinematic mask… (read the full review)
5. Dragon (2012, Peter Chan)
The best martial arts epic in quite some time, Dragon is a film wise not just in the pressure points of martial arts, but in the pressure points of the human heart. It also boasts an ape-shit crazy third act that has to be seen to be believed… (read the full review)
Ricky D’s Top 3
1- Killer Joe (2011, William Friedkin)
Joe marks the director’s second collaboration with the Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright Tracey Letts. The two previously collaborated in 2007′s underrated, paranoia-laden thriller Bug, starring Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd. Joe pales in comparison to the brilliance of that near-masterpiece, but this Southern neo-noir thriller, sprinkled with a heavy dose of black humour, offers up an irresistibly bold dose of crazy. Soaked with gruesome and downright disturbing material, the pic is bound to offend sensitive viewers. Needless to say, there are moments that go well beyond the bounds of good taste… (read the full review)
2- Excision (2012, Richard Bates Jr.)
Barely scraping together the necessary funding, Excision somehow manages to mesmerize with its sound, intrigue with its visuals, and terrify us with the set pieces for Pauline’s nightmares. Pauline’s vivid dream sequences are certainly inventive; the film is beautifully shot and the soundtrack selection is stellar. Excision is cold yet personal – a sharp provocative character study and Bates, a director to watch out for… (read the full review)
3- Dragon (2012, Peter Chan)
Director Peter Ho-sun Chan has succeeded in fusing together a classic detective story amidst some of the best martial arts action sequences since Donnie Yen’s previous Ip Man films. Under his assured direction, this stylish homage to One-Armed Swordsman (Chang Cheh’s classic from 1967), is wildly imaginative, thoroughly compelling and entirely entertaining.