The Fantasia International Film Festival hosts the best genre features, documentaries, and shorts from around the world. Here are capsule reviews of two titles I was able to screen during this year's event.
You Wouldn't Understand - One of the things that's so special about Fantasia is that it gives short filmmakers a prominent spotlight. Shorts are no mere afterthought at this festival, they're a vital part of the programming. That allows attendees (who are virtual this year due to Covid19) the chance to see movies like Trish Harnetiaux's You Wouldn't Understand, which made its world premiere at this year's event. It begins with a man (Anthony Arkin) having a picnic by himself. From across an open expanse comes a strangely-dressed visitor (Jacob A. Ware). What happens next is kind of like Happy Death Day meets The Terminator, done in the style of Midsommar. It's a bold, surprising, witty sci-fi tale in which nothing is quite what it seems. Stylishly shot and sharply acted, You Wouldn't Understand is grade-A short filmmaking.
Hail to the Deadites - Director Steve Villeneuve's non-fiction film is a tribute to hardcore fans of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy. We meet people who have collected props and memorabilia, a couple who gets engaged at a horror convention, and a young man with a dream of meeting star Bruce Campbell. Actors from all three Evil Dead pictures, including Campbell, are interviewed about the reaction they get from the public. What Hail to the Deadites lacks in structure, it more than makes up for in passion. The doc digs into what these films (and a spinoff Starz TV series) have meant to a lot of people. And presumably because of issues getting the rights to film clips, Villeneuve uses awesome fan-made videos to illustrate the series' appeal. If you're an Evil Dead buff, as I am, this is a fun watch.