Five Must-See Films at Fantasia

The Fantasia International Film Festival is about to commence once again. Held each summer in Montreal, Quebec, the fest programs the most exciting genre films from around the world. Running July 11th through August 1, Fantasia will screen dozens of full-length features and shorts. Horror movies, action flicks, documentaries, and groundbreaking animated fare will all be on the bill. For the third consecutive year, The Aisle Seat is covering this event.

The 2019 lineup, which can be viewed in its entirety on the Fantasia website, promises to live up to the high level of quality that has become synonymous with the festival. Below are five movies that will be must-sees for those in attendance, and must-follows for those keeping tabs on the hottest new titles.

A Good Woman Is Hard to Find - Director Abner Pastoll's last film was the taut, suspenseful thriller Road Games. He returns with this tale of a widowed young mother (played by Sarah Bolger) taking on a dealer who stashes a load of stolen drugs in her apartment. Pastoll knows how to ratchet up tension, so this will likely be a real nail-biter.

Porno - Devout young Christians working at a single-screen movie theater stumble upon an old film canister. Running the film through the projector, they witness a combination porno flick/satanic ritual. And because they've watched it, an evil succubus is set free. Porno has all the elements one expects from an outrageous genre flick, combined with a wicked sense of humor. The premise is so zany that it's impossible to resist.

The Lodge - Richard Armitage, Riley Keough, and Alicia Silverstone star in this chiller centered around a non-fiction author, the lone survivor of a suicide cult, and a remote lodge where creepy things take place during a blizzard. The Lodge marks the English-language debut of filmmakers Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, whose Goodnight Mommy is one of the most disturbing horror films of recent years. Seeing what they do to follow up that movie is going to be a blast.

The Art of Self-Defense - Director Riley Stearns (Faults) returns with this comedic thriller. Jesse Eisenberg plays Casey, a man who begins taking martial arts lessons after getting mugged. Instructed by an enigmatic Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), he learns to defend himself, but also opens up parts of his personality he didn't know were there. The Art of Self-Defense is said to be a satire of toxic masculinity. With Eisenberg in the lead role, that idea should offer plenty of laughs.

Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson - Al Adamson was a prolific genre director in the '60s and '70s, whose filmography includes Satan's Sadists, Brain of Blood, and The Naughty Stewardesses, among others. In 1995, he was murdered and buried under the floor by a handyman he'd come to know. The documentary Blood and Flesh looks at his life, his fascinating career, and his tragic murder. This seems like required viewing for fans of genre cinema.

Of course, many other excellent films will be screening at Fantasia, as well. Keep checking back to The Aisle Seat for reviews and coverage throughout the festival.