For The Sake of Vicious (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

The visceral raw energy and violence of Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen’s “For the sake of Vicious” is bound to be compared to the masterpieces like “The Green Room” very soon. The set up at least conjures up memories of “Assault on Precinct 13” except in a smaller scale. In either case, it’s a classic white knuckle home invasion siege thriller that spares no one, even when it successfully builds on empathetic and fascinating protagonists.

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The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw (2020) [Fantasia Fest 2020]

In small, rural village where nothing is growing and people are dying, a woman has her crops thriving and seems to be doing great, so her village’s population deems her to be a witch. While she is hiding an important secret, it may not be what the villagers are expecting.

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Detention (2019) [Fantasia Fest 2020]

Set in Taiwan in 1962, a period known as the White Terror, Detention takes place in and around a school and its among its student and staff as they are encouraged to turn anyone who may be against the current power in. A group of students and young teachers meets up to discuss banned books and other materials. As they try to stay hidden and survive, something not quite usual starts happening.

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A Witness Out of the Blue (2019) [Fantasia Fest 2020]

The official definition for this film is “[a] Hong Kong crime thriller about a detective and a parrot” and it honestly nails the film. It’s what it’s about with of course other factors involved like a criminal, some corruption, and a little bit of love possibly.

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Alone (2020) [Fantasia Fest 2020]

John Hyams’ “Alone” begins kind of sketchy. In fact I spent the first fifteen minutes not quite sure where the screenplay was going, if anywhere. But sticking with it, I’m glad to discover that “Alone” is one of the best and most exciting thrillers of the year. While it does get off to kind of a sputter, it transforms in to a journey of self discovery and evolution for a woman who is shambles when we first meet her. By the end, she has to figure out if she can keep charging head first in to the world, or if she wants to recede back in to the night.

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