As September ends, so too does another Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the United States. We here at Bloody Disgusting know how fortunate we are to be able to attend these film festivals, often seeing horror films months before they are released (hell, some of them never even get released). We also know how difficult it can be to keep track of the plethora of films we review over the course of festival season (see: Sweetheart, which Meredith Borders reviewed at Sundance back in January and is just now getting released later this month).
Because of that, we’ve put together a handy-dandy list of the best horror films to come out of Fantastic Fest this year.
In no particular order here are 10 horror films that screened at Fantastic Fest 2019 that you should keep on your radar in the coming months:
1. The Golden Glove
Elevator Pitch: Director Fatih Akin’s latest film chronicles real-life serial killer Fritz Honka, who terrorized Hamburg, Germany in the 1970s.
Where/When Can You See It: The Golden Glove is currently available on VOD platforms and playing in a limited theatrical release.
From Meagan Navarro’s review:
“It feels inaccurate to say that you’ll “enjoy” The Golden Glove. This subject matter is of the heaviest variety, and its central character not one you’re supposed to like. But it is a story with immense artistic merit and a new angle of this subgenre with something important to say. It’s bleak, dour, and often tough to watch. And oh so compelling. If you can stomach the more extreme offerings of cinema, one that happens to be based on a nasty figure in German history, then I urge you to seek this one out.”
Elevator Pitch: A water buffalo escapes captivity and terrorizes an Indian village, causing chaos among its inhabitants.
Where/When Can You See It: Jallikattu is currently seeking U.S. distribution.
“Pellissery may not have set out to do a genre film, as there are still moments where the director explores the daily drama of the villagers’ life. But with hundreds of extras as his disposal, a symphonic and meticulous score, and cinematography that rivals that of Fury Road in making you ask how the hell no one died during production, Jallikattu results in an apocalyptic cinematic ride through hell that reveals the worst of mankind, and the best that cinema has to offer.”
3. The Pool
Elevator Pitch: A man and his pregnant girlfriend are trapped in an empty pool with a crocodile.
Where/When Can You See It: The Pool is currently seeking U.S. distribution.
From my review:
“Every once in a while, a movie comes along that is so stupid and so aware of that stupidity that you can’t help but be won over by its charms. It knows exactly what kind of movie it’s trying to be and doesn’t have any pretenses about being “high art.” It knows what viewers are expecting and playfully toys with those expectations, stringing them along on a roller coaster of fun. Ping Lumpraploeng‘s The Pool, which won the special mention award for “Most Fun Movie to See with an Audience” at Fantastic Fest last week, is that movie.”
4. The Platform
Elevator Pitch: A vertical prison houses two prisoners on each of its 200+ levels. Each day, a platform full of food begins at the top level and slowly descends, feeding the upper levels but forcing the lower levels to resort to cannibalism to survive.
Famous Faces: Iván Massagué and Antonia San Juan
Where/When Can You See It: The Platform was acquired by Netflix during TIFF but no release date has been set.
From Rafael’s review:
“The Platform takes full advantage of its isolated setting and small cast to instead focus on a high concept, a tight script, and sharp dialogue that will make you laugh as often as it will make you think. This is a funny, heartfelt, at times disgusting, yet also thought-provoking sci-fi thriller that reminds of Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, but with way better food.”
5. Random Acts of Violence
Elevator Pitch: A comic book writer and his friends are stalked by the real-life serial killer that his comics are based on.
Famous Faces: Jay Baruchel, Jordana Brewster and Jesse Williams
Where/When Can You See It: Random Acts of Violence is currently seeking a distributor.
From my review:
“Random Acts of Violence will not work for everyone. Reconciling the on-screen violence with the screenplay’s possible condemnation of appropriating a tragedy for the sake of entertainment will be a difficult challenge for some viewers. The film will no doubt elicit strong reactions from viewers, and that’s what [director Jay] Baruchel wants. It’s honestly quite shocking that he had this film in him. Random Acts of Violence is not a great movie, but there’s enough on display here to make you want to see what the director has cooking in his twisted little brain next.”
6. Saint Maud
Elevator Pitch: A deeply religious nurse becomes obsessed with the salvation of her dying patient, but might have become possessed in the process.
Famous Faces: Jennifer Ehle, Morfydd Clark
Where/When Can You See It: StudioCanal and A24 acquired U.S. and U.K. distribution rights to the film. No release date has been set.
From Joe Lipsett’s review:
“By eschewing easy answers or placating audiences who demand closure, Saint Maud is a far more fascinating piece of art: is it a portrait of a young woman slowly losing her grip on reality in service of her devotion to her faith or it is a religious parable about an emissary battling demons to save a life? Or is it both? The film lives in the place in between that question and the result is a confident, measured first feature. Saint Maud is slow, and moody, and gorgeous, and powerful. It’s simply good cinema.”
7. Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street
Elevator Pitch: A documentary that looks at the homoerotic
subtext text in Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and the effects it had on the film’s star Mark Patton.
Famous Faces: Mark Patton, Robert Englund, Kim Myers and Robert Rusler.
Where/When Can You See It: Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is currently seeking distribution.
From my review:
“Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street [is] a documentary that aims to set the record straight (for lack of a better term) on Mark Patton’s story. The end result is a touching, poignant film that’s less about the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and more about how one man took control of his narrative and used it to empower not only himself, but millions of queer horror fans around the world.”
8. Sea Fever
Elevator Pitch: A fishing trawler stumbles upon a giant tentacled beast, which slowly begins to infect the crew members with a vicious parasite.
Famous Faces: Connie Nielsen and Dougray Scott
Where/When Can You See It: Sea Fever is currently seeking U.S. distribution.
From Joe’s review:
“Sea Fever is a subversive, intelligent, adult aquatic horror film that prioritizes characters first and foremost. Writer/director Hardiman has crafted a smart film that is aware of the conventions of the subgenre and leans into those tropes as often as she eschews them. The film looks great, it has unexpected developments and there is plenty of mystery in the mythology, which has elements of both environmental allegory and government conspiracy. While Sea Fever may not be the madcap monster aquatic horror film that some audiences anticipate going in, the result is far more introspective and thought-provoking. This is one that will stick with you.”
Elevator Pitch: A girl washes up on a deserted island and is stalked by a mysterious creature.
Famous Faces: Kiersey Clemons
Where/When Can You See It: Universal Pictures will release Sweetheart on VOD and digital platforms on October 22, 2019.
From Meredith Border’s review:
“It’s thrilling to watch a film that relies almost entirely on Clemons’ dazzling presence, and she has no trouble carrying the weight of her scenes alone, often with no dialogue. She gives such a wonderful, profoundly human performance, and watching Jenn figure out basic life necessities on this small, beautiful island would make for a compelling watch even without the monster.”
10. We Summon the Darkness
Elevator Pitch: Three girls attend a heavy metal concert in an area that has been plagued by Satanic murders.
Famous Faces: Alexandra Daddario, Amy Forsyth, Maddie Hasson, Logan Miller and Johnny Knoxville
Where/When Can You See It: Saban Films will release We Summon the Darkness on VOD platforms and limited theaters on December 13, 2019.
From Meagan’s review:
“It doesn’t reinvent the wheel or present anything we haven’t seen before, but it’s so damn fun that it’s hardly a flaw. It’s a throwback horror comedy that offers up just enough surprises and a pair of scene-stealing performances by Hasson and Daddario will make you throw up a pair of devil horns and hail Satan.”