Harpoon (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

Munro Chambers is one of the most underrated actors working in film today. He’s been a man mostly working in the corners of film with unsuspecting genre fare and every time he’s managed to turn in stellar performances. In “Harpoon” he manages to deliver a very layered and impressive turn as Jonah, a perpetually cursed protagonist who is revealed to be something and someone completely different every time Rob Grant’s twisted dark comedy reaches a new turning point. “Harpoon” is a fantastic addition to Fantasia this year, putting to film a morbid and weird amalgam of comedy, relationship drama, survival thriller, and horror.

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Riot Girls (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

I wasn’t too interested in the premise of “Riot Girls” upon first glance, but it inevitably won me over with its execution and I came to appreciate (and kind of love) how fun and unique it was. The whole idea of high school cliques becoming the tribes of the post-apocalypse is rife for satire, and Jovanka Vuckovic has a great time with her concept. “Riot Girls” is both a teen drama comedy, and a fun bit of post apocalyptic fodder that you could easily digest right down to the last bite. I loved the whole punk rock, pulp comic book aesthetic, and the way it embraces its fantasy trappings like “The Warriors” did long ago.

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Critters Attack! (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

It’s been slim pickings for fans of “Critters” and it’s a shame that even after this film, there’s still not a lot of options for us. We’re either stuck with “The New Binge” which was nigh unwatchable, or “Critters Attack!” which is quite boring and defeats the whole idea of a sequel by dodging everything that makes these movies so fun. It even wastes the idea of a friendly Crite named Bianca by making the monster some aimless prop. Let’s just say Gizmo is in no threat of being dethroned as cutest monster ever.

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Critters Attack! (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

Critters fans have had slim pickings for a very long time, with lack of real printings of the original film on home media and new films coming together. Now in 2019 we finally got two new installments, but together they don’t really amount to much of a great “Critters” movie sadly. While “Critters Attack!” is waves better than “Critters: A New Binge” it’s still never as good as “Critters” parts one or two. It’s only an okay offering that’s right there beside “Critters 3.” That’s about as glowing as a recommendation that I can give it when all was said and done.

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Child’s Play (2019)

For a remake manufactured purely out of spite for Don Mancini, it’s shocking how great the 2019 “Child’s Play” is. It’s not a redo of the original 1988 and that works toward its benefit as the studio is able to build its own mythology and unique horror tale. While the commentary on AI run amok is on the nose, “Child’s Play” manages to be a great time that evokes a lot of the classic eighties aesthetic right down to fleshed out, clever teen heroes that we can root for.

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Ma (2019)

We don’t have nearly enough horror movies about the aftermath and fall out of bullying and how often times bullies can destroy us. We’ve had “Slaughter High” in the past, but we’ve come around to sharp thrillers like “The Gift” and “The Final” which depict the victim less as insane, and more as broken people. “Ma” is kind of that film that approaches the very themes, but never quite knows what to make of its titular villain. “Ma” is a sharp thriller with a killer performance from Octavia Spencer that manages to rise above a narrative that’s very confused about what it’s trying to say.

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