Fantastic Fest 2013: Our Most Anticipated Films

Kid's Police (Yuichi Fukuda)

Kid’s Police (Yuichi Fukuda)

Editor’s Notes: The following article is part of our coverage of the 2013 Fantastic Fest, taking place in Austin, Texas from September 19 to 26. For more information on the festival visit and follow the event on Twitter at @fantasticfest.

From a plumber turning into a sewage monster to a man reincarnating as a fly and setting out to seek vengeance, passing by a father slowly losing his mind in an amusement park, this year’s edition of Fantastic Fest is sure to please its crowd of fans hungry for everything horror, science fiction, fantasy, action, Asian, and cult. To prepare for the event, we asked Adrian Charlie and Daniel Tucker, our duo of critics attending the festival, to share their most anticipated titles. Here are their picks.

Adrian Charlie

Almost Human (Dir. Joe Begos)

A guy gets abducted in the middle of the woods and begins killing people. The premise is freaking cool and the trailer promises a bloody good time! Almost Human looks like a no-holds barred splatter fest that will satisfy genre lovers like myself. Weapons featured in the trailer: axe, chainsaw, knife, rifle, shotgun. What’s not to love? Genre films set in the woods inside a cabin are also promising and feel familiar.

Commando - A One Man Army (Dir. Dilip Ghosh)

This film looks exciting because of the note in the beginning of the trailer - Practical stunts without wires and CGI (with the exception of one shot). This appears to be India’s equivalent to Thailand’s Ong-Bak, featuring Tony Jaa. Gravity defying moves, and big action with a Bollywood backdrop makes for a promising formula. In a time where action films are dominated by massive budgets this looks like a breath of fresh air.

Detective Downs (Dir. Bård Breien)

The IMDB page reveals information about the plotline. A number of the producers also produced Headhunters, a major Norwegian hit from 2011. The main character has Down syndrome, he’s hired as a way of distracting a senile old lady. This is a risky story as there is a lot of room to turn off audiences that are easily offended. Will this offend? Will this inspire and emerge as another breakout hit from Norway? I cannot wait to find out.

Commando - A One Man Army (Dilip Ghosh)

Commando - A One Man Army (Dilip Ghosh)

Eega (Dir. Srisaila Sri Rajamouli)

A man gets reincarnated as a fly and sets out to seek vengeance on his killer. The premise alone will gain a lot of attention! Talk about an ambitious sell! I can only imagine the pitch to the producers, “It’s a story about a man who comes back as a fly and starts the path for revenge. Think of it as Kill Bill, but with a fly!” The trailer shows action shots of a CGI fly dodging bullets and attacking a man with a pin to his eye. This has the potential to be great or  bad, I hope it’s the former.

Escape from Tomorrow (Dir. Randy Moore)

A neo-noir shot entirely in Disneyland without Disney’s knowledge is a major selling point for this film. I’ve only seen one video clip and the shot is kind of mind-bending. It looks like a crane shot, but how did they get a crane into Disneyland?! The gag could get old quickly but that won’t stop me from lining up to see this one. This one is hitting VOD in October, how it got this far is a bit of a miracle.

Greatful Dead (Dir. Eiji Uchida)

Take a female peeping tom and throw in a weird attraction to and old man and you have the recipe for a bizarre film that comes from Japan. I searched high and low and could not find a trailer. I found one screencap here. From the sounds of it, this film embraces the weirdness of the world’s finest genre film festival. Isn’t that why we’re here? To embrace all that cinema has to offer.

Kid’s Police (Dir. Yuichi Fukuda)

An elite team of cops has been poisoned with anti-aging gas, turning them into children. The trailer shows children in typical police scenarios: riding in helicopters, carrying shotguns and yelling at each other. Anime fans will feel right at home with the repeated expression, “NANI!?” (translated as “what,” often used as an expression of shock/confusion).

LFO (Dir. Antonio Tublén)

A man discovers sound frequencies that allow him to manipulate his neighbors to do whatever he wants. Imagine the possibilities of influencing what your neighbor wants or likes. This is a power no person (other than I) should have. The premise has great potential and will likely take the audience into some dark places. Who doesn’t enjoy squirming in their seat once in a while?

Septic Man (Dir. Jesse Cook )

A plumber is tortured by residents of the community while he undergoes a hideous transformation while stuck in a septic tank in the town’s sewage plant. This film sounds like it will turn into a revenge film. I can only imagine the way the plumber will exact vengeance on the people. Will he gag them with sewage? More than likely! The official Facebook page has a few stills which look totally bad ass. Who knows how this story came to be, what matters most is that it’s an actual film! I told some friends about this film and received some appalled looks.

Daniel Tucker

Confession of a Murder (Dir. Jeong Byeong Gi)

Byeong-gil Jeong’s feature film debut has such an interesting premise it’s going to be incredibly hard for me to pass this one up. The film follows a man who publishes the details of murders he had committed fifteen years before. Both the father of one of the victims and the detective are hot on his trail, but things get complicated when another man surfaces who may in fact be the real killer. Though I don’t know much about this murder, the themes that the movie is bound to explore as well as the unique setup could result in some damn good entertainment.

The Congress (Dir. Ari Folman)

Ari Folman’s follow-up to Waltz With Bashir promises to be one of the year’s most unique cinematic experiences. Two parts live action and one part animation, The Congress stars Robin Wright as a fictionalized version of herself that literally sells her soul to Hollywood, allowing them to digitally insert her into films for decades to come. Here’s the best part: that’s just the beginning of what promises to be a completely engrossing cinematic adventure.

Escape from Tomorrow (Dir. Randy Moore)

As if the scenario of a father slowly losing his mind in an amusement park wasn’t enough, the fact that Escape from Tomorrow was shot at real amusement parks is enough to make this incredibly unique cinematic experience a must watch.

A Field in England (Dir. Ben Wheatley)
(Adrian’s review)

After his work on films like Kill List, Sightseers, and a pretty badass segment in The ABCs of Death, Ben Wheatley has solidified his reputation as a director to watch. Whatever the subject matter, the fact that A Field in England has Ben Wheatley’s name attached to it more than qualifies it for a place on this list.

Grand Piano (Dir. Eugenio Mira)

Elijah Wood as a concert pianist threatened with death by John Cusack if he makes one mistake during his piano concert? If that’s not a great premise for a movie I don’t know what is.

Nothing Bad Can Happen (Dir. Katrin Gebbe)

Our Heroes Died Tonight (David Perrault)

Our Heroes Died Tonight (David Perrault)

Inspired by true events, Nothing Bad Can Happen follows a young man whose recent decision to join a group called The Jesus Freaks is challenged by the incredibly cruel oppression of a man he thought to be his friend. Again, I know very little about this film, but with a premise like this it’s hard to pass.

Our Heroes Died Tonight (Dir. David Perrault)

What would you do after a stint in the French Foreign Legion? Naturally, you’d start a career as a masked wrestler. The press materials for Our Heroes Died Tonight promise a film that is both a lovingly crafted homage to film noir and a great cinematic experience. Here’s hoping that promise rings true.

Secret Screening

Every year at Fantastic Fest, there are a couple of secret screenings. We can only guess at this point what will be shown this year. But whatever is shown it’s bound to be a memorable experience.

The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears (Dir. Bruno Forzani and Hélène Cattet)
(Ronan’s review)

After their very impressive stylistic work on The ABCs of Death, I felt myself craving for more work from Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani. What better to start than with The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears? With a title like that, how could you not?

The Zero Theorem (Dir. Terry Gilliam)

Christoph Waltz, David Thewlis, Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Ben Wishaw and others in a Terry Gilliam movie? I don’t care what the plot is. Sign me up!


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