Tuesday, July 25

Fantasia International Film Festival Opening Weekend

Fantasia International Film Festival Opening Weekend 

Capsule Reviews

The 2023 Fantasia International Film Festival drew its curtains and showcased its opening weekend films on July 20.

The opening was nothing short of intense, brilliant storytelling – setting the bar high for the coming days’ films.

Here’s three capsule reviews of three very unique, diverse films you need to watch for wide release this year.


Written/Directed by Teresa Sutherland

Forest ranger, Lennon’s, past keeps haunting her as she has chosen to make a living trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of her sister, which tore her family and life apart. As she goes down a rabbit hole, what she is about to discover is that some truths are better left undiscovered.

This film is set in the middle of a national forest. If the isolation doesn’t get under your skin, the vivid cinematography and terrors shown in broad daylight will. Additionally, Teresa’s intention to only show so much will have your imagination run wild.

This is a nice slow burn from the same writer of THE WIND and as a directorial debut, I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Stay tuned for my Q&A with Teresa Sutherland coming shortly.

4 out of 5


Written/Directed by: Eva Strelnikova

While using a laptop donated to the resistance, Katya, co
mes into contact with the original owner’s superhero-obsessed son, who is looking for his lost parents. In an effort to make a positive change in this boy’s life, Katya risks all that she holds dear to locate his parents.

STAY ONLINE is the first Ukrainian feature film to have been shot since the beginning of the ongoing Russian invasion. This film is not for the apprehensive. It will get under your skin and tear at your heart. It follows the intense pace/feel of recent blockbusters MISSING and SEARCHING – and while those films are fiction-based on scary what if scenarios – Stay Online gives us a glimpse into a real war that is still raging.

The ending isn’t butterflies and rainbows and yet satisfying as Katya’s character fully comes to terms to the horrors around her and how she can make a difference.

3.8 out of 5


Directed by: Robert Hloz

Set in Prague, 2041, the world is on the cusp of crossing a threshold into a new era of human existence, because death has been eliminated. Those who die can be resurrected, and the population is consistently signing in and uploading their memories to a corporate cloud. 

On the eve of the corporation going public, one of its founding members is brutally murdered with his wife, and restoration is impossible. Now, Detective Trochinowska, must infiltrate the extremist group The River of Life who believe that death is sacred, and uncover the dirty secrets that lay at the center of restoration - even though she has an agenda of her own.

RESTORE POINT is the first sci-fi feature to come out of the Czech Republic in 40 years and it will hopefully leave a mark. The pace and untangling of secrets are similar to sci-fi classic BLADE RUNNER, but this film can and should stand on its own pedestal for its cohesiveness and brilliant ending.

4 out of 5

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