Fantasia International Film Festival 2022 Begins Thursday

Here Are Our Horror Picks

Fantasia International Film Festival’s 2022 edition kicks off this Thursday with over 130 feature films, nearly 300 shorts, and events celebrating the careers of John Woo and Kier-la Janisse. The Montreal-based festival is a mainstay of weird and wild horror, sci-fi, avant-garde, and experimental features and is the biggest it’s ever been as it gears up for its 26th year. Since so many films are playing this year’s edition, I’m going to tell you about the top ten features I’m excited to see at this year’s festival. 

Dark Glasses 

A woman sits on the edge of a bed wearing Dark Glasses
Image Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

Dario Argento’s return to Giallo filmmaking has excited me since it was first announced. In Dark Glasses, sex worker Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli) is blinded during a car accident caused by a psychopath with a fixation for call girls. She befriends a young boy (Xinyu Zhang) whose parents were victims of the same accident, and he aids her in discovering the white-van driving madman is out there looking to finish what he started with Diana.  

This is Argento’s first directorial effort since 2012 when his disjointed 3D Dracula film left audiences scratching their heads. Returning to the subgenre he’s largely synonymous with, Dark Glasses looks primed to be a bloody homecoming for the celebrated director who brought us Suspiria, Opera, and Deep Red. While early reviews for Dark Glasses have been mixed, I still have high hopes as a fan of the auteur. 


An undressed barbie doll is found on the floor under a flashlight in Skinamarink
Image Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

In Kyle Edward Ball’s experimental horror film Skinararink (like the song from The Elephant Show), two children awaken in the middle of the night and discover their father is missing and all the doors and windows in the house have mysteriously disappeared. Deciding to stay put and wait for a grown-up to rescue them, they quickly realize something is in the house with them, using a child’s voice to lure them to it. Ball uses a child’s perspective to create the intense environment of a familiar place becoming sinister. Lights, hallways, the static on an old television set, and other aesthetics help create a dark version of home in the deafening silence of finding yourself awake late at night. Skinamarink looks strange and enchanting, turning an ordinary suburban home into a Rubik’s cube puzzle of nightmares for its young protagonists.  

Bodies, Bodies, Bodies 

Four girls stand close to each other covered in blood and wearing glowsticks in Bodies Bodies Bodies
Image Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

Do you remember I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, the less-than-stellar follow-up to the slasher classic? It had some fun ideas, albeit poorly executed. Bodies, Bodies, Bodies looks like what that film could have been. A party atmosphere, a drug-smoking Pete Davidson taking the place of Jack Black, and a handful of characters trapped by a storm with a killer. Unlike I Still Know, Bodies Bodies Bodies has a much deeper social commentary going on with whip-smart dialogue to propel it forward.  

The Hate U Give’s Amandla Stenberg plays a rich kid ready to party, bringing her girlfriend (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’s Maria Bakalova) to a party filled with plastic frenemies. After drinking and snorting themselves into a good time, the party takes a turn when they play a game called Bodies Bodies Bodies, and actual bodies start hitting the floor. The game, which mirrors Mafia or Among Us, where players have to find a killer embedded into their group of friends, turns real and trust becomes a commodity not easily given. This fun whodunnit is playing this week before hitting theaters in early August.  


Wes laughs on the floor covered in blood under a magenta light in Glorious
Image Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

Dr. Rebekah McKendry is one of my favorite people on social media. McKendry is a professor at USC School for Cinematic Arts, former Fangoria Director of Marketing, and Killer POV podcaster who knows her horror sh*t (perhaps literally in this case). Currently in production on her next film, The Elevator Game, her 2020 effort, Glorious, featuring the talents of True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten and Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons has been on my radar for a long time.

A single location piece, Glorious finds Wes (Kwanten) locked inside a rest stop bathroom, nursing a serious hangover with a mysterious inquisitor (Simmons) one stall away. A strange synopsis and odd couple casting? Sure, but what the stranger is offering is far weirder. Described as a Lovecraftian horror-comedy, I’m ready for some wild cosmic-restroom horror.


Valeria walks through a hexagonal tunnel in Huesera
Image Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

Michelle Garza Cervera’s breakout debut feature, Huesera, won two awards at the Tribeca Film Festival last month and effortlessly made my shortlist for Fantasia. The story follows Valeria (Natalia Solián) through her first pregnancy. Seemingly a gift of joy for her boyfriend and her family, this is all Valeria has ever wanted. As her body starts changing, she begins to have terrible visions and becomes convinced that she’s been cursed by a supernatural being known as La Huesera (The Bone Woman). The further she gets into her pregnancy, the more panicked she becomes and seeks a coven for help. 

Huesera sounds like an allegorical and poignant movie for the moment. It is a film about motherhood that subverts expectations and considers the body-horror perspective of a woman having second thoughts about her pregnancy. Huesera also induces psychological dread imposed by a culture with deep religious devotions and uses occult practices for Valeria to seek alternative means.

Next Exit 

Rose and Teddy sit in the front seats of a car looking toward the back seat in Next Exit
Image Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

In Next Exit, a scientific breakthrough proves the existence of an afterlife, and a research scientist (Dual’s Karen Gillan) has discovered how to identify and track our ethereal counterparts. When she puts out a call for volunteers willing to end their lives for science, strangers Rose (The Haunting of Hill House’s Katie Parker) and Teddy (Midnight Mass’s Rahul Kohli) decide to travel across the country to end their painful struggles on Earth and hopefully find something more meaningful in the beyond. As they meet people through their travels, they’ll divulge the real reasons they’re looking to be a part of this study. 

Part science-fiction, part dark-comedy, Next Exit looks like a profoundly affecting film about death and how people might treat death if they knew without a doubt there is more to death than just the end. Fans of CW’s iZombie will also get to see a reunion between Rose McIver and Rahul Kohli as well. 


A demonic finger picks Shawn's nose as he lays bloody and unconscious on the floor wearing camera equipment in Deadstream
Image Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

If you’ve ever seen the short film #chadgetstheaxe, Joseph and Vanessa Winter’s Deadstream feels like the fleshed-out counterpart of the concept. Attempting a social media comeback after pulling a stunt that lands him in legal trouble and leaves him abandoned by his sponsors, Shawn (Joseph Winter) decides to arm himself to the teeth with body cams and GoPros and enter the supposedly haunted Pratt House. A place storied in tales of murder and suicides, his mere presence is enough to trigger the spirits within and turn a gimmick into a fight for his life. 

While I contend that the horror world is filling up with “vapid influencer gets what’s coming to them” flicks (see: The Seed, Superhost, The Overnight), Deadstream looks like a lot more fun than the average storyline, especially where it supposedly leans into found footage films and the Evil Dead films. The film has generated a lot of positive buzz and is said to avoid a lot of conventional horror trappings. Plus, anything compared to Evil Dead will always capture my curiosity.  


Martha looks over her shoulder in Megalomaniac
Image Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

In the 1990s, the Butcher of Mons, aka “The Skinner,” left a handful of victims and no clues besides the garbage bags filled with the mutilated corpses of women. Years later, his children Martha and Felix begin to spiral as they succumb to the weight of their uncovered father’s legacy. Felix continues his father’s killings while Martha gets bullied, harassed, and slowly falls into madness as she tries to understand the world the way her brother sees it.  

Blurring the lines between victims and killers, Karim Ouelhaj’s latest film looks like a surreal psychological thriller that uses the true account of Belgium’s Skinner de Mons to tell its story. In the process, Megalomaniac reportedly examines cultural themes of patriarchal dominance and the persecution of women through a non-traditional and nuanced approach that I’ve only heard great things about.  

Cult Hero 

A cackling man wields a flamethrower in Cult Hero
Image Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

From Jesse Thomas Cook, who delivered the Dave Foley commentated horror-wrestling mash-up Monster Brawl in 2011, Cult Hero just looks like straight-up fun. A controlling wife, Kallie Jones (Liv Collins), sends her lethargic husband (Justin Bott) on a retreat and believes he’s been indoctrinated into a cult when he decides to extend his stay. Kallie hires run-down P.I. Dale Domazar (Ry Barrett), a notorious “cult-buster” whose last bust ended in mass suicide, to get her husband back. Chaos, mayhem, havoc, and hilarity ensue as Dale attempts to redeem himself and discover the sinister secrets of Master Jagori’s (Tony Burgess) retreat. 

In the vein of over-the-top cult movies like Miami Connection or New York Ninja, Cult Hero looks primed to fit in well. Touting relentless gags (including parodies of reality TV shows), ridiculous amounts of gore, and unhinged performances, Cult Hero is my bonkers pick for those with a deranged sense of humor.  


Jena Malone sits holding a gun in her right hand and her head in the other in Swallowed
Image Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

While my excitement for Carter Smith’s The Ruins may not have matched how I felt about the film after I saw it back in 2008, Swallowed may offer some redemption. I find myself with the same enthusiasm for Smith’s latest film, which reunites him with Ruins star Jena Malone. Smith has a tenured history in horror films, with titles like Jamie Marks is Dead and the queer New Year’s Eve edition of Into the Dark, “Midnight Kiss.”

Swallowed ventures into bizarre territory as two best friends, Benjamin (Cooper Koch) and Dom (Jose Colon), dream of taking their lives across the country to the bright lights of LA, where Ben hopes to make it as a porn star. The two decide to earn some quick cash by swallowing some baggies for a drug runner (Malone), acting as mules in crossing the Maine border into Canada, but these friends may have just gotten in over their heads.

Swallowed also features A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’s Mark Patton “embodying here the villain role like no others,” according to Fantasia.


This is just the tip of the iceberg that Fantasia is offering this year, and only a percentage of the films I hope to see in the coming weeks. Festival favorites HoneycombHypochondriac, Resurrection, and Speak No Evil will all be in attendance as well, many of which I regard as some of my absolute favorite horror films so far this year. Along with restorations of Douglas McKeown’s The Deadly Spawn, Álex De la Iglesia’s Acción Mutante, and special screenings of John Woo’s Face/Off and Hard Boiled (playing as part of Fantasia’s presentation of Woo’s Career Achievement Award), Fantasia 2022 is bursting at the seams with content for every cinephile.

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Written by Sean Parker

Living just outside of Boston, Sean has always been facinated by what horror can tell us about contemporary society. He started writing music reviews for a local newspaper in his twenties and found a love for the art of thematic and symbolic analysis. Sean joined Horror Obsessive at it's inception, and is currently the site's Creative Director. He produces and edits the weekly Horror Obsessive podcast for the site as well as his interviews with guests. He has recently started his foray into feature film production as well, his credits include Alice Maio Mackay's Bad Girl Boogey, Michelle Iannantuono's Livescreamers, and Ricky Glore's upcoming Troma picture, Sweet Meats.

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