Every year the summer brings loads upon loads of festivals celebrating the glorious craft of cinema in its entirety. Out of the many film festivals that are out there, we here at Nightmarish Conjurings always look forward to what the annual Fantasia International Film Festival has to bring. The Fantasia International Film Festival will be celebrating its 23rd Anniversary in Montreal this summer, taking place from July 11 – August 1, with its Frontières International Co-Production Market being held July 18 – 21. The festival’s full lineup was recently revealed last week and you can check out the full wave of programming here. There will also be exciting, one-of-a-kind live events featuring producer Edward R. Pressman, FIRST BLOOD director Ted Kotcheff, and iconic horror host Joe Bob Briggs.

It was immensely difficult to narrow down the options because, in all honesty, these year’s selections are just so incredibly good. Here are my top five movie picks for what audiences should look out for at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival.

1 . THE WRETCHED

As a fan of the original and reboot of Evil Dead, it’s hard not to be intrigued by a film that seeks to expand upon on the occult/witchcraft genre. This is what Brett and Drew Pierce (Deadheads) seek to do with their latest film, THE WRETCHED. The film is said to have new rules to the genre while also making sure to inform the viewers that, although it does have a range of influences, THE WRETCHED should not be mistaken for a throwback film. I am always intrigued to see how genres can be expanded upon and made surprising once more, so this film is definitely high on my list. It makes its Fantasia debut on Friday, July 19th.

2 . SATOR

I’m a self-proclaimed sucker for anything that is enriched in folklore or fantasy so, upon reading the description for SATOR, I had to add it onto my list. Jack-of-all-Trades Jordan Graham has created a tale inspired by his own family experiences. He also put on many hats in order to create this film, which can be seen in the minimalistic approach and in the handwritten opening credits. Such passion is an instant draw for me. It makes its Fantasia debut on Sunday, July 21st.

3 . HOMEWRECKER

A film description that almost gives me Single White Female vibes, I can’t resist putting HOMEWRECKER on the list. The exploration of specifically female socialization issues and how they can trap us into dangerous situations cannot be ignored and I honestly can’t wait to see how actors Alex Essoe and Precious Chong develop their character’s chemistry throughout the course of the movie. It makes its Fantasia debut on Thursday, July 26th and will play again on the 28th.

4 . DOOR LOCK

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a fondness for Asian, more specifically East Asian and Southeast Asian cinema. When I saw that DOOR LOCK had been added onto the roster of films at Fantasia, I almost lost my mind. Directed by Lee Kwon, this South Korean remake of Jaume Balageuro’s Sleep Tight (a 2012 jury award winner at Fantasia) recently won the Thriller Prize at the 2019 Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival and will be making its North American debut at Fantasia International Film Festival on Tuesday, July 23rd.

5 . 1BR

The film’s description hit my heart due to its utter relatability. As an LA native, finding a decent place to live without selling one’s own internal organs is really hard. However, it’s hard not to side-eye potential places to live that are marked below market value without being immensely suspicious. That’s why the feature debut of writer/director David Marmor is on my list because the apartment horror featured in 1BR is sure to haunt not only my dreams but anyone else who has had difficulties finding decent places to live. It makes its Fantasia debut on Thursday, July 18th and will play again on the 22nd.

Make sure you check out Nightmarish Conjurings for all of the coverage on this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival. Until then, stay tuned!

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Sarah Musnicky

Managing Editor at Nightmarish Conjurings
Sarah is the managing editor of Nightmarish Conjurings and a lover of all things magical and horrific. All who are familiar with her can attest for her love of glitter, adorable plush, and obsession with folklore and mythology. When she's not chasing after things she probably shouldn't hug, Sarah is making sure that Shannon's sanity stays intact long enough for deadlines to be tackled.
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