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SYFY WIRE Fantasia

Our 10 most anticipated movies at Fantasia 2019

By Kristy Puchko

Today sees the start of Fantasia International Film Festival's 23rd year. With three weeks of screenings, 130 feature films, and slews of stars in their line-up, Fantasia has become a destination for genre fans who live for pulse-pounding horror, mind-bending science-fiction, heart-wrenching fantasy, and movies so wonderfully WTF they're difficult to label at all!

But don't worry if you can't make it to Montreal this summer. SYFY FANGRRLS will be bringing you coverage out of this fun and funky fest in the coming weeks. And to kick things off, we're rounding up the 10 titles that have us most excited to attend Fantasia 2019. 

01. Sadako

21 years ago, she rose from a well and reached through a TV screen to strike fear in the hearts of audiences worldwide. With Ringu, the creepy ghost girl Sadako launched an iconic J-horror franchise, and inspired the American spinoff The Ring, as well as countless nightmares. Now, Sadako is back in a new movie helmed by Hideo Nakata, the director of Ringu, Ringu 2, and The Ring Two. Opening night audiences at Fantasia will be the first in North America to witness the latest harrowing chapter in this deeply spooky film series. 

02. The Incredible Shrinking Wknd

You ever had a weekend you wish wouldn't end? Alba (Iria del Río) can relate. A short holiday with friends was supposed to be a way to escape her troubles. So when she stumbles into a time loop that begins with their arrival to this charming cabin, it initially seems like a perfect getaway, full of beers, buds, and drugs. But Alba soon realizes that each go 'round is one hour shorter than the last. What will that mean when time runs out? Spanish writer/director Jon Mikel Caballero's fresh spin on time loop drama has won praise from the Fant Bilbao Film Festival and The Orphanage helmer J.A. Bayona. We're pumped to see what this clipped wknd has in store. 

03. Ready or Not

Grace (Samara Weaving) might have thought she had it made when she married into the wealthy Le Domas clan, a family renowned for their booming board game empire. But her dream day becomes a nightmare when she discovers her in-laws are into the most dangerous game. She will hide. They will seek... to kill! Can she survive her wedding night? Fantasia audiences will find out a month ahead of Ready or Not's domestic debut! Andie MacDowell, Adam Brody, Kristian Bruun and Melanie Scrofano co-star in the Matt Bettinelli-Olpin/Tyler Gillett horror-comedy that's got us screaming, "Game on!" 

04. Knives And Skin

It begins with a girl gone missing. From there, writer/director Jennifer Reeder's genre-blending stunner explores how one MIA band geek can send a whole town into a spiral of tension, self-destruction, vulnerability, and song. That's right. Song. Amid a murky investigation on what happened to Carolyn Harper (Raven Whitley), Reeder blends teen drama, biting humor, and a bit of magic with mind-bending musical numbers born from '80s pop songs. This was one of our absolute favorites out of this year's Tribeca Film Festival, and now Montreal audiences will have the chance to be shocked and rocked by this eerie and enchanting beats of being a teen girl. 

05. The Deeper You Dig

Sometimes filmmaking is a family affair. Since 2013, wife-and-husband team Toby Poser and John Adams have been making low-budget indies written, directed, and starring themselves and their daughters, Lulu and Zelda Adams. In their latest, Zelda stars as Echo Allen, a headstrong Goth girl who goes missing one cold, dark night. With cops left clueless, it's up to her mother (Poser) to uncover what happened to Echo. As a gifted clairvoyant, she turns to the supernatural for aid. This leads her down a surreal and painful path that will bring her to a series of strange confrontations with Echo's ghost and a mysterious neighbor (Adams) with a dark secret. Horror comes home in the world premiere of this trippy ghost story.

06. The Lodge

Co-writers/co-directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz cemented their reputations in horror with the twisted, twin-centered tale of terror Goodnight Mommy. Now, they're back with their English-language debut, which won shrieks and raves out of Sundance. Riley Keough stars as Grace, a soon-to-be stepmom desperate to win over her fiance's kids during a winter holiday in a remote village. But when a storm leaves her stranded with them, something strange slips into their cabin. What might this have to do with Grace's past with a suicide cult? That'll be revealed when The Lodge hits theaters this fall. Those hitting Fantasia don't have to wait to have their spine tingled and nerves shredded. 

07. Freaks

Can you figure out the secret hidden in Freaks' trailer? Writer/directors Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein's sci-fi thriller centers on an unusual family. Seven-year-old Chloe (Lexy Kolker) dresses in rags and lives in a house with blacked-out windows. Her fretful father (Emile Hirsch) forbids her from talking to anyone or leaving their ramshackle homer, especially to go out to the ice cream truck that tempts her with treats. Is her father paranoid? Is he up to something sinister? Or does he know something this stubborn young heroine doesn't realize? The secret is part of what makes Freaks such a sensational surprise. After premiering at TIFF last fall, it's sure to thrill Fantasia audiences. A hint: fans of Fast Color and Logan should look for it when it hits theaters in August. 

08. The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale

This is a killer year for zombie comedies! Jim Jarmusch brought us wry humor and gruesome gore with The Dead Don't Die. Lupita Nyong'o played a zombie-slaying kindergarten teacher in the Sundance hit Little Monsters (which will also play Fantasia!) The acclaimed Japanese zom-com One Cut of The Dead has been crushing it on the festival circuit. And finally, South Korea's The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale is coming to make its Canadian Premiere at Fantastic Fest. Director Lee Min-jae offers a wild story that blends family-comedy and zombie-horror with action, romance, and boners. From its trailer, this looks like the kind of movie zombie-loving nerd Tina Belcher would dream up — and we're here for it. 

09. Jessica Forever

In this French sci-fi film, the post-apocalypse might not look like you imagine. Quiet suburban streets with manicured lawns still linger, reminders of a time before, teasing of the promise of a life of tranquility and family. And while her tribe of lost boys might look like Mad Max-style merciless, marauders, Jessica (Aomi Muyock) fights chiefly for peace. But In the shattered remnants of this dangerous world, peace and community don't come easy. Co-writers/co-directors Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel's feature debut offers a unique vision that blends art house attitude with video game-style violence. Can you handle it? 

10. Harpoon

Edgar Allan Poe called Harpoon the "best boat movie ever made." Well, that is if you believe its trailer. Hey, that might sound far-fetched, but we're on board for a horror-comedy set on a yacht called The Naughty Buoy. Munro Chambers, Emily Tyra, Christopher Gray star as three friends who set forth for a fun day trip of drinking and fishing, but soon find themselves at each others' throats once they get stranded in the middle of the ocean. You can bet there will be blood and macabre humor. Between its intriguing premise and irreverent trailer, Harpoon has us hooked. 

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