Fantastic Fest 2022: My Top Five Films From The Fest!

With Fantastic Fest 2022 coming to a close, it’s finally time to spill the details on some of the weird and wonderful films I had the privilege of viewing throughout the festival’s online coverage. Having somehow found time in an increasingly busy schedule to see just about everything the fest had to offer, here are the five films from Fantastic Fest 2022 that stood out to me as being head and shoulders above the rest.

Unidentified Objects—Life, Death, and Aliens

Did you ever hear the one about the sex worker and the dwarf who snuck across the Canadian border to return to the spot of an alien abduction? After watching Unidentified Objects at Fantastic Fest, I get the feeling that you’ll be hearing about it for quite some time. This film is many things: a road trip film, an odd couple comedy, a sci-fi thriller, and a platonic love story. 

But most of all, it’s the story of two people: Peter (Matthew August Jeffers), a misanthropic, gay dwarf drowning in grief over the loss of a close friend, and Winona (Sarah Hay), a vivacious sex worker trying to return to the site where otherworldly visitors supposedly abducted her at a very young age. The two of them have instant odd-couple chemistry, and the journey they go on is one that changes not only their relationship but the rest of their lives.

Peter and Winona from Unidentified Objects

Along the way, they encounter lesbian cosplayers, shroom addicted survivalists, and extraterrestrial highway cops. But beneath the surface of their wild journey and the colorful characters they meet along the way, Unidentified Objects is ultimately a profound, moving film about making connections in an increasingly distant world and learning to live again after facing profound loss. 

RAZZENNEST—A Film That Must Be Seen To Be Believed

The highest form of praise I can give to RAZZENNEST—and the highest form of praise I’ll personally give to any film—is that it is truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen—not simply at Fantastic Fest, but anywhere

The “film” is basically an elaborate satire of the overly pretentious arthouse film, consisting entirely of increasingly macabre and dour footage set to a moody electronic score—no dialogue, no characters, no plot. The narrative comes in the form of a director’s commentary given by the film’s fictitious director Manus Oosthuizen, along with film critic Babette Cruickshank and some members of the crew. Both leads are wickedly funny parodies of the worst types of pretentious, self-assured film directors and critics—Manus puts himself in the same category as Jawdorowsky, while Babette makes comparisons including (but not limited to) referring to a particular film as “the Baby Yoda of the experimental film world—and despite never appearing on screen they’re both uniquely memorable characters in their own right. 

An image of a cross at the top of a hill from RAZZENNEST

This unique setup is the heart and soul of RAZZENNEST: things quickly get out of hand during the recording as secrets are revealed and untold horrors make themselves known, images slowly start to reflect the events happening off-screen, and all the while you’re never allowed to see what’s actually happening to the unfortunate cast and crew, only hear it. The effect is one of singularly claustrophobic terror, a nightmare happening seemingly just out of sight.

It’s also one of the most polarizing films I’ve ever watched. I can’t imagine there’s going to be a lot of in-between in terms of opinions—you’ll almost certainly walk away from RAZZENNEST thinking it’s one of the most brilliant films you’ve ever seen, or you’ll be turning it off after about ten minutes or so—I fall on the side of brilliance, but I understand it won’t be a film for everyone. But if you can get into the film’s unorthodox approach, what you’ll find is one of the most uniquely visceral and unsettling films of the year. 

The Third Saturday in October V and I—The Greatest Slasher Franchise Never Made

We here at Horror Obsessive have already spoken much of our love for the Third Saturday In October films that have been making their way through the festival circuit, and after months spent being envious of my coworkers, Fantastic Fest meant it was finally my turn to see them, and thankfully neither one of them disappointed me in any capacity. 

Over the course of two films, The Third Saturday In October V and I effectively build an entire fictional slasher franchise out of thin air. Part V is reminiscent of both any number of ‘90s slashers and any number of Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street films from around the point that those franchises had gotten to about five or six films each and had long since lost their way, while Part I is a grainy, late ‘70s-early ‘80s type slasher reminiscent of the days when the genre was still being formed. 

A poster for The Third Saturday In October

Together, they constitute the best slasher parodies since the likes of Scream or Scary Movie, equally embracing the things we love about the slasher genre and the things we understand are honestly more than a little ridiculous about them. Thankfully though, the satire never gets overly excessive or distracting and each film is a solid slasher in its own right. The only complaint I have about The Third Saturday In October films is that there aren’t more of them, but hopefully, this is something that will be remedied before too long—I particularly can’t wait for the inevitable reboot/requel entry. 

A Wounded Fawn—My Favorite Film of the Year

An increasingly popular trend in modern horror films is to adopt the style of a specific era of horror, generally the ‘70s or ‘80s—or, at least claiming to do so. In most cases, it’s just a matter of shooting a film exactly like you usually would, just using 16mm film or throwing a filter on it in post-production. 

A Wounded Fawn is not such a film. Everything about this film—cinematography, sound design, performances—perfectly emulates the feels of ‘70s horror, and were it not for the smartphones present one could easily think it was made right alongside the likes of Messiah of Evil. The end result is almost equal parts arthouse and grindhouse, irresistibly stylish and gloriously grimy.

The red owl demon from A Wounded Fawn, with a man carrying an incense torch and another man holding a tapestry

In contrast, the plot and themes of A Wounded Fawn are thoroughly modern. Meredith (Sarah Lind) has just gotten out of an abusive relationship and is now going away for a romantic weekend with new flame Bruce (Josh Ruben), a seemingly perfect guy who unfortunately happens to be a misogynistic serial killer, driven by nightmarish visions and seeing Meredith as his latest victim. The film is divided into two acts, with the first being between Bruce and Meredith, and the second being between Bruce and incarnations of the Furies—Greek goddesses of vengeance. It’s exactly as wild as it sounds. 

I’ll admit a fair amount of bias on my part, given that the ‘70s happens to be a particular favorite era of horror for me. But seeing that aesthetic so brilliantly executed combined with the film’s profound, timely message makes A Wounded Fawn not just my favorite film from Fantastic Fest, but the best horror film I’ve seen in 2022—and one destined to be a personal favorite of mine for quite some time.


I was privileged to be able to watch a great number of phenomenal films at Fantastic Fest 2022, but these five films are what stood out to me as the best of the best. All five of them are films that I can’t wait to see get a wider release and recognition, and I’m already looking forward to seeing what’s going to top them at next year’s Fantastic Fest. 

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Written by Timothy Glaraton

College graduate. Horror enthusiast. Writer of things.

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