15 Movies We’re Dying to See at Fantastic Fest 2018

FP2: Beats of Rage

Director: Jason Trost

Synopsis: JTRO gave Frazier Park everything he had, but his challenges aren’t over. Now he must journey into the destruction of The Waste to rekindle the passion he needs to win the ultimate Beat-Beat Revelation tournament and fulfill his destiny.

Why We’re Excited: Back in 2011, indie maverick Jason Trost debuted his dystopian Dance Dance Revolution universe with The FP (at Fantastic Fest, no les). Trost stars as hero JTRO, who must avenge the death of brother BTRO (Brandon Trost) after rival 245 gang leader L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy) defeats him in “Beat Beat Revelation” combat (a “Beat-Off,” lol). Armed only with his fancy footwork and signature eyepatch, JTRO’s journey is a matter of oh-so-80s geekdom life or death – and it’s totally the opposite of whack. A beatboxin’ deathmatch stunner drenched in lush colorization and arcade swagger. 

FP2: Beats Of Rage sees Jason Trost shoulder the sole burden of writing and directing without brother Brandon (Markus Mentzer steps in as cinematographer), but that doesn’t extinguish any hype. Trost proved in The FP that Frazier Park’s dangerous apocalyptic playground is a street-cred struggle of passion. Ahead of Fantastic Fest 2018, a teaser appeared for FP2: Beats Of Rage that mirrors and megaphones the same lucid fantasyworld Trost helped birth. My excitement level is through the roof for more Beat Beat Revelation warfare – this time by virtue of a Thunderdome-esque tournament. The FP is DDR The Warriors, and now it appears that Trost is borrowing Bloodsport rules. Sign me up even *before* the Streets Of Rage title pun. (Matt Donato)

Girls With Balls

Director: Olivier Afonso

Synopsis: After winning a competition, a women’s volleyball team heads home aboard their minibus. Forced to take a shortcut, they end up at a tavern where they upset the local degenerate rednecks… and then the hunt begins.

Why We’re Excited: Ever read a film’s title and go, “That’s my jam?” Enter Olivier Afonso’s Girls With Balls. This French import comes to Fantastic Fest with a clean slate and fiesty spirit, boasting gender-turned tables that pit female volleyball players against backwoods male deviants. “The girls are more resourceful than it appears,” reads an IMDB bio listing. Oh yeah, bring on the team-building exercises by way of extreme survival situations.

My excitement here stems from a very midnight-movie ring both in name and synopsis. There’s no footage to judge off of just yet, but I’m a sucker for a dumb-fun puns. Girls With Balls is just that – but also suggests gender politics will be at the heart of this pseudo-slasher fight against inhumanity. Give me something angry, outspoken, and seething with unforgiveness when it comes to proving females can handle themselves just as ferociously in horror genre scenarios. That’s what excites me most – here’s hoping Afonso delivers. (Matt Donato)

halloween novelization


Director: David Gordon Green

Synopsis: Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

Why We’re Excited: Forty years later, I am more than ready to return to the streets of Haddonfield. John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher, Halloween, was one of my first introductions to the horror genre and taught me how to deconstruct films from a young age. The use of lighting, camera work, score, and character design was unlike anything I had experienced and ultimately solidified my love of horror. At first, I was hesitant about Green and Danny McBride constructing their own version about the boogeyman that slashed his way into my heart so many years ago. However, with Carpenter’s blessing, involvement as a creative consultant, executive producer, and composer for the score, my apprehension shifted quickly to excitement. Once Blumhouse dropped the trailer, it was over. The throwbacks to Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch reinforce the crafty care and respect to the original while paying homage to the franchise as a whole. Jamie Lee Curtis looks strong and stunning in her return role as prey-turned-predator, Laurie Strode, and Nick Castle comes back home as Myers. Based on the trailers and reviews, this film looks like it will be a thing of evil and beauty. (Marisa Mirabal)

hold the dark review

Hold the Dark

Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Synopsis: A gripping psychological thriller unfolds in the treacherous Alaskan wilderness when a retired wolf expert is summoned to investigate a child’s disappearance.

Why We’re Excited: Jeremy Saulnier is a Fantastic Fest regular, with Blue Ruin and Green Room both winning fans and accolades in years past. Now he’s back with what looks like his slickest movie yet: a tale of a man hunting a wolf and a man hunting, well, men. By all accounts, Hold the Dark is a brutal and unrelenting film, but we wouldn’t expect anything less from Saulnier, an artist unafraid of darkness and unwilling to flinch in the face of brutality. This film will probably be exhausting, but it’s also going to stick with us for a long time, if his past work is any indication. Plus, any movie that has the good taste to cast Jeffrey Wright in the leading man role deserves our attention. (Jacob Hall)

In fabric review

In Fabric

Director: Peter Strickland

Synopsis: Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy; Berberian Sound Studio) returns to Fantastic Fest in full, flourishing style with In Fabric, a film that’s part surreal thriller, part giallo love letter, part fashion collage, and all hypnotic originality.

Why We’re Excited: Addressing materialism in his cult classic novel, Fight Club, author Chuck Palahniuk wrote, “the things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.” This notion of obsession over material objects and the perpetual search for perfection appear to also be woven into the seams of Strickland’s newest Fantastic Fest submission. The plot of In Fabric centers around a red dress that perfectly fits single mother, Sheila (Jean-Baptiste), as she reenters the dating world. Her new garment seems to hold a certain power that serves as a good luck charm at first. However, in Stephen King-like fashion, there’s a sinister side to the dress, a haunted past that works more like a curse than a charm for any woman who adorns it. While I am not a self-proclaimed fashionista by any means, I do enjoy a spooky film revolving around the industry, the subsequent psychology behind consumerism, societal norms that define beauty, and how a simple outfit can transform its owner. Recent gems like Phantom Thread and Personal Shopper deliver within this realm extremely well.  So, I’m really looking forward to what Strickland designs with his giallo influenced film. (Marisa Mirabal)

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