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Each year, Fantastic Fest brings a slew of stars, an army of movie lovers, and a slate of some of the weirdest and wildest cinema the world has to offer to Austin, Texas. In its 15th year, the fest boasts wild revival screenings, exciting world premieres, and sneak previews for some of the hottest titles hitting theaters this winter. Add to that outrageous live events that feature comedians, drag queens, luchadores, and FANGRRLS, and it's easy to be overwhelmed.
But worry not! We're here to help.
SYFY WIRE FANGRRLS has scoured the schedule for Fantastic Fest 15 and singled out 10 sensational movies you won't want to miss.
For horror lovers, there's terror on the high seas, in the tall grass, and in docs about creepy classics and nightmares made real. For sci-fi fans, there are twisted tales of suburban discontent, dangerous houseplants, and a dismembered hand on a mission. And for fantasy fans, here comes the latest from such acclaimed genre directors as Rian Johnson and Taika Waititi.
Here we go.
01. Jojo Rabbit
Taika Waititi brought us the fun of comically uncool vampires in What We Do In The Shadows and infused manic shenanigans into the MCU with Thor: Ragnarok. Now, the chic and hilarious helmer is bringing his unique blend of whimsy, comedy, and tragedy to the WWII story of a 10-year-old boy (Roman Griffin Davis) whose imaginary friend is Hitler (played by Waititi). With a cast that boasts Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, Sam Rockwell, and Thomasin McKenzie, you can bet things will get weirdly wacky.
Hot off winning the audience award at TIFF, Jojo Rabbit made its US premiere as Fantastic Fest's Opening Night film.
02. Sea Fever
Written and directed by Neasa Hardiman, this high-seas thriller stars Hermione Corfield as a marine biologist assigned to survey the catch of an average Irish trawler. Socially awkward and scientifically minded, she clashes instantly with the crew of superstitious sailors who are thick as thieves. But tensions grow far worse when the fishing boat collides with a mysterious marine creature with clutching bioluminescent tentacles. Wonder Woman's Connie Nielsen and Ever After's Dougray Scott co-star in this lean but striking indie that earned rave reviews out of TIFF.
03. Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street
Nowadays, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge is heralded as one of the greatest queer horror movies of all time. But when it was made in 1985, this surreal slasher was deeply in the closet about its homoerotic subtext. And so was the film's star, Mark Patton. For decades, the filmmakers denied the queer content of this sequel, pinning it all on Patton's performance. Now, more than 30 years later, the groundbreaking Final Guy confronts the film that haunted him and the screenwriter who plagued him. We can't wait to see what this behind-the-scenes doc will reveal about the complicated history of a film that's been taboo, toxic, and ultimately embraced by the LGBTQA+ community.
Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg team up in this sly sci-fi mystery. Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, it begins with a young couple looking to settle down in the perfect home. At first, their new neighborhood seems lovely. But soon the labyrinthine blocks of this suburban landscape turn unnerving. What's going on behind the seeming perfection of these pretty little houses? The title of this US premiere gives you a sneaking hint.
05. Wrinkles The Clown
Imagine: You're 12 years old, and leaning into the angst and rebelliousness of it all. You holler at your mom. Maybe you get lippy with your dad. And they don't ground you. They don't holler back. Instead, they put in a call to Wrinkles, a creepy clown for hire who will stalk badly behaved kids for quick cash. Just when you thought It was as scary as clowns could be, here comes a documentary about a South Florida bogeyman who is stranger than fiction.
06. In The Tall Grass
Horror helmer Vincenzo Natali has given us such terrifying treats as Cube, Splice, and Haunter. Now, he teams with horror authors Stephen King and Joe Hill to adapt the duo's novella, In The Tall Grass. A vast field, a pair of Irish twins, a boy crying for help is all they need to get us stoked for this creepy thriller. Fantastic Fest audiences will be witness to the world premiere ahead of the film's Netflix debut on October 4.
07. Pelican Blood
Sometimes, horror begins at home. And so is the case of writer/director Katrin Gebbe's latest. Nina Hoss stars as a kind-hearted horse trainer and single mother, who lives with her nine-year-old daughter (Adelia-Constance Ocleppo) in the peaceful German countryside. Looking to grow their happy family, she adopts a young Bulgarian girl (Katerina Lipovska). But before long, her new daughter erupts into bizarre outbursts. Is this just a child acting out? Or is there something supernaturally sinister at play? Fantastic Fest audiences will find out as Pelican Blood makes its US premiere.
08. Little Joe
Following its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, writer/director Jessica Hausner's science-fiction drama Little Joe will play at Fantastic Fest as a sneak preview ahead of a theatrical release this winter. In this colorful sci-fi film, Into the Badlands' Emily Beecham stars as Alice, an experimental-plant breeder and single mother who blends her professional and personal lives in a troubling way. When she brings a curious new species from the lab as a gift from her son Joe (Kit Connor), she begins a series of events that quickly turn thorny. Ben Whishaw co-stars.
09. I Lost My Body
This cartoon ain't for kids. Jérémy Clapin's daring animated feature follows a severed hand that scurries across Paris to reconnect to the body it has lost. This might sound like something grotesque, but woven into this creepy, kooky premise is a lyrical style and a love story of boy meets girl. How does that connect to a hand lobbed off and on the run? We'll find out when I Lost My Body makes its US premiere.
10. Knives Out
Closing out Fantastic Fest 2019 will be the latest from Rian Johnson, the visionary director who has brought us such treasures as the neo-noir Brick, sci-fi Western Looper, the con man comedy The Brothers Bloom, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which needs no introduction. This time, Johnson is digging into his love of Agatha Christie-styled whodunnits with a murder mystery positively overloaded with stars. Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Daniel Craig, Michael Shannon, Christopher Plummer, Ana de Armas, Katherine Langford, Don Johnson, and LaKeith Stanfield join forces for one of the most wildly entertaining movies of the year.
Fantastic Fest audiences will get to see its stupendous fun and terrific twists two months before Knives Out hits theaters nationwide on November 27.