8 Films To See At Fantasia Festival 2023

Returning to celebrate its 27th year, The Fantasia International Film Festival will run from July 20th to August 9th. As a preview, here are 8 of my choices for films worth seeing at this year's festival.

1. Aporia (World Premiere)

After losing her husband in a car accident, a grieving widower struggles to manage crippling grief, a full-time job, and the demands of parenting her devastated teenage daughter. She becomes faced with an impossible choice when her husband's friend - a former physicist - reveals he has been building a time-bending machine which could restore her former lover, and bring unforeseeable consequences. Riveting character-drama from director Jared Moshe.

2. Killing Romance (Canadian Premiere)

Director Lee Won-suk delivers a blend of madcap comedy and murderous musical fairy-tale, for an imaginative tale which promises hilarity and sumptuous visuals. Utilising the help of her bumbling neighbour who can speak to animals, a disgraced star decides to do away with her awful husband, although it soon becomes apparent the pair's best laid plans are dubious at best.

3. Late Night With The Devil (Canadian Premiere)

Directors Colin and Cameron Cairnes craft what promises to be an innovative and nightmarish horror treat, as a live television broadcast in 1977 goes horribly wrong and unleashes evil in the nation's living rooms. Headlined by the ever-engrossing David Dastmalchian, this has been hailed by Stephen King as "absolutely brilliant".

4. River (North American Premiere)

One of the (many) highlights from Fantasia's 25th edition was Junta Yamaguchi's dazzlingly imaginative Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes, and the director has returned with a brand-new micro-budget time-loop film. This feature follows a waitress at the Fujiya Inn, in a wintry valley town new Kyoto, who discovers while staring into the river that the inn is looping for two-minutes at a time.

5. Suitable Flesh (Canadian Premiere)

Adapting H.P. Lovecraft's The Thing on the Doorstep, director Joe Lynch's latest film follows a psychiatrist falling into a downward spiral of sex, possession, and death, courtesy of a young patient with otherworldly symptoms. Heather Graham and Judah Lewis star in this loving tribute to the late Stuart Gordon, reuniting Barbara Crampton, screenwriter Denis Paoli, and Executive Producer Brian Yuzna for a supernatural erotic horror film that promises to have been sent straight from the abyss.

6. Vincent Must Die (North American Premiere)

Despite living an otherwise unremarkable life, Vincent finds himself suddenly attacked by strangers with violent intentions. As things spiral out of control, he is forced to flee and completely change his life. After an acclaimed Cannes Critics Week debut, Stéphan Castang delivers a blend of horror, comedy, romance, fantasy, and thriller, for a cinema experience promising to be savoured and reckoned with.

7. Where The Devil Roams (World Premiere)

After the exceptional Hellbender premiered at Fantasia's 25th edition, The Adams Family return with another World Premiere. This one follows a family of travelling sideshow performers across Depression-era America, undertaking a bloody search for eternal life. Here's hoping for another inspired exploration of familial power dynamics through horror.

8. With Love and a Major Organ (Canadian Premiere)

Set in a world where people's hearts are removable and they're ruled by an app, it's tricky to find authentic love. Anabel refuses to live via tech and falls for the emotionless George, impulsively ripping her heart out for him and turning her world upside down. A darkly funny fantasy from director Kim Albright.

Fantasia 2023 runs from July 20th to August 9th