Fantasy Filmfest 2004

| Tags: movie

Yesterday the 18. Fantasy Filmfest ended. It was the third I attended at. Funny thing about this movie festival is that you will find very few fantasy movies here. So if you are a fan of “The Lord Of The Rings” and other such films and expect to see something of this sort, you’ll be disappointed. It’s very much a horror and thriller festival. You’ll also find some science fiction and samurai movies, but horror and thriller is the main stream here. This said, the movies themselves are not mainstream. In Germany the mainstream films come all nicely dubbed. The movies on the Fantasy Filmfest are not dubbed. So it’s quite normal to watch a Hungarian or Korean movie with English subtitles. Most of those movies won’t make it into mainstream cinema since they show too much violence or are too nasty for the typical cinema visitor. Some of them will do it, but in a defused version.

This year I watched 8 movies on which I will now relate somewhat.

  • The first one I saw was the opening movie Kontroll. Kontroll is a Hungarian film that takes place in the tunnels of the metro of Budapest. It’s main actors are ticket inspectors. The movie shows their work and the rivalries among them. To give the film a bit more tension, there is also a serial killer, who shoves his victims in front of driving metros. That’s not really much of a plot, but nevertheless the movie is very cool and gripping.
  • The second movie - Sword In The Moon - was a real disappointment. It tries to challenge movies such as “Tiger and Dragon” and “Hero” and fails totally. There are some interesting sword fights, but nothing as nice and beautiful as seen in “Tiger and Dragon” or “Hero”. The plot is also not very original.
  • The Big Empty was a surprise. I had only bought the ticket to this movie, because “Freeze Frame”, the movie I wanted to watch originally, was canceled and replaced by this one. The description of the movie didn’t give a promising outlook on it. “Oh well, another cowboys meet the aliens movie” was all I could think. But surprisingly the movie is very cool. It lives from the scenes. While the general plot is very simple, the individual scenes make up for the story.
  • No Fantasy Filmfest without a new groundbreaking movie. Haute Tension takes that place this year. It’s very nasty and shows a lot of violence. It’s a French movie. Generally I don’t like French movies. Mostly they are overdone. Too much sex, too artificial and so on. In a way this one is no exception. It’s really absurdly violent and bloody. But here it’s a strength. This movie gave me really the creeps. It contains a creative selection of tools and weapons with which the victims are killed: knives, a cupboard, firearms, a pole wrapped up in a barbed wire fence and a circular saw. The title made be suspicious “High tension? We’ll see, how boring this’ll get.” But the movie really generates a high tension and earns its title
  • Trespassing is a classic creepy movie. A myth, a deserted house and a gang of youths trying to pretend that they don’t believe in the whole shit of a myth. Well, there’s also a guy with a dog mask. Though this movie is nothing out of the ordinary, it is well done and plays well with its elements
  • Saw is the best movie I saw on this year’s Fantasy Filmfest. The plot is comparable to the one of “Seven”. But while in “Seven” the victims cannot do anything against their death, the ones in “Saw” always get a chance to prevent their death. But those ways are horrible. One woman for example wakes up wearing a weird mask with a timer. As soon as the timer runs out the mask will open. To both halves of the masks her two jaws are connected. So the opening of the mask will open her jaws really wide and crush her head. Her only way to get out is to find the key to the lock of the mask. The key is inside the belly of some guy who isn’t dead yet but somehow comatose. The woman gets a knife as her only means to get to the key. There are some of such scenes in this movie. The motive for killing people this way is similarly philosophical as the one of the killer in “Seven” : “They don’t acknowledge the talents they were given”. Very nasty thing this one with a totally surprising finish.
  • Kaena The Prophecy is a French animation film. While technologically quite interesting, the plot is totally boring. Well OK, some gags are really good, but that’s it. From the technological viewpoint, I’ve to admit, that it is done quite well. The fluid species - or whatever you want to call it - is very well done. Their form changes are really cool. When not looking like some water in a cup, they look like the aliens in the “Alien” movies. An added bonus in this film are the known speakers. Kaena for example is spoken by Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane in “Spider Man”).
  • The last and worst movie was Open Water. A guy goes on vacation with his girlfriend. They are really stressed and want to have some fun and forget their jobs for a while. Some day they go on a diving excursion. They get shipped out into the ocean - hence the title Open Water - jump into the water and dive around in their diving suits. After doing some photos and fooling around with some fishes they surface again into a sunny day and cannot see their boat anywhere. They have left them alone. As it’s open water, there is no shore visible anywhere. Now there isn’t much going on in the movie after the first shock. The both get thirsty and hungry and not long afterwards aggressive “It’s all your fault. I wanted to go skiing”. Then they meet some sharks. One of the sharks takes a bite of his leg. After some more time he gets eaten by the sharks. And some more time after that, she becomes the second course in the meal of the sharks. Very funny. At the end of the movie a shark is taken apart on a boat. The guy doing the work finds the camera of the two unfortunate tourists.

Conclusion: As always there’s been crap in between the pearls, but the pearls were shiny enough to make up for the crap. Looking forward to Fantasy Filmfest 2005