FANTASIA 2018: The Second Week's Recap!

My days off this week have coincided with the rain and grey weather. This makes for a great excuse to hide indoors and catch a few films at the Fantasia festival. I have made my master list of the films that I want to see this week, with the fact that I only have two days free. Here is my marathon of film viewings from week two. 


Unfriended 2: The Dark Web 

Having missed the screening at Fantasia (and CJLO Metal Director Andrew talking my ear off about this gem in the roughs) I headed to the local multiplex to catch a screening. I was a fan of the first Unfriended, which added a new subgenre to horror films by adding the element of all the action taking place behind a computer screen. Director Stephen Susco decides to up the anti in this second installment, which focuses on the dark web, a part of the Internet that is on a private network and hosts some content that shouldn’t exist. All of the action happens during a friend session of game night over Skype. Other characters that are on the move have their action sequences play out over FaceTime, showing that technology has become mobile-based. One of the friends is using a stolen laptop that opens up the Pandora box to the dark web program, known only as The River. What follows next is the cataclysmic fate of every player playing or subverting the game that they have now become a part of. Let’s just say that Susco has nailed the aspect of being a fly on the wall as a theatre audience member, whether we like it or not. 


The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion 

It is one part Korean melodrama, another part supernatural, and closes with a John Woo à la Matrix in its final climax: this would be the description that I would give Park Hoonjung’s latest feature, The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion. A high school student, with temporary amnesia about her dark past, enters a talent contest with her best friend in order to save her family, hence the melodrama. Along the road, she meets a variety of dark, shady characters who just want to talk, but are very menacing. She then realizes that she might have special supernatural abilities that defy human strength. This is put to the test in the final epic showdown that I can describe as a John Woo meets the Matrix action sequence. Here’s hoping that Park Hoonjung comes back next year with an action-based sequel, given that the melodrama is out of the way. Or is it? 


Blue My Mind 

Blue My Mind from director Lisa Brühlmann is a coming-of-age story of teenage angst, set with a bit of fantasy. The film follows Mia who is transitioning to a new school, as adolescence is settling in and transforming her into an adult. Falling in with the wrong crowd at school while overcoming her body changes are some of the issues that Mia is dealing with. Mia in turn does not feel like herself, and exhibits strange characteristics that might be associated with a certain fantasy character from the sea. Brühlmann puts a nice fairytale twist to a coming-of-age film, proving that everyone deserves to have their happy ending. 


Anna and The Apocalypse 


What is Anna And The Apocalypse? A zombie horror Christmas musical—that well deserves a subgenre category of its own. For me, it hits every subgenre category that I love. There has to be a brilliant point when the characters break into a delightfully cherry musical number, despite the zombie apocalypse happening all around them. Some of the musical numbers worked for me, but others might have fallen a bit flat, given that they were out of place, which is the point of this movie. The comedic aspect is one of the strong aspects of this film, directed by John McPhail. Maybe after the regular holiday viewings of It’s a Wonderful Life and Love Actually, I might revisit this Christmas zombie apocalypse to see if it holds up with the season. For now, it sits right as a great Christmas in July present from Fantasia. 


Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana

This documentary is not for the faint of heart, with a strong graphic nature warning before the film starts. Boiled Angels: The Trail of Mike Diana from director Frank Henenlotter follows Mike Diana who created controversial and obscene zine comics titled Boiled Angels. It showcases both sides of the argument of the First amendment’s freedom of speech clause, or the obscenity charges that Mike Diana was being brought to court over. The verdict showcases a stifling of Diana’s work and who he was as a person. Even though Diana brought out the obscene in his zines, Henenlotter vindicates him by giving him a voice when his right of free speech was taken away.



What goes on behind doors of a college fraternity? Director Daniel Robbins showcases in this horror thriller that fraternity parties are not what they are cranked out to be. We follow a group of close freshmen as they try to get status inside of a frat house, but their social skills keep them from getting in. Finally, there is one invitation for a great night at a straight elitist fraternity that goes very well. The next day, they are invited back in a 48-hour pledge session, where everyone is tested physically and mentally. The pledgers fight to survive—however, unbeknownst to them, another challenge is taking place. Robbins sets up the mood at the beginning of the film that masks the fraternity as a time-of-your-life party, only to have the mask slip off and show the dark side that is a problem that plagues most fraternities.



Searching is one of the three films that is showcased from the point of view of a computer. However, for director Aneesh Chaganty, this movie is a thriller more than horror as David Kim (John Cho) must use the computer to help solve the disappearance of his daughter. The film also showcases how computer technology has evolved over time, from the first Microsoft personal computer (PC), to the new MacBooks that are a staple of the genre. The film also displays how technology has become more mobile with the innovation of FaceTime, which allows David to communicate with the detective who volunteered for the case, Detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing). Interwoven into all of this is the cautionary tale that Chagnty unveils about the power of social media, which makes up for the somewhat quick wrap-up to this film. Searching arrives out in theatres this Friday and I definitely recommend it.