FantasticFest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. Here's a list of some of our favorite movies at FantasticFest.
In the 1980s, college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret; they plan to use her in a satanic ritual.
Part of a "special" late-nite television program...Four friends on their way to a wedding find themselves marooned on a mysterious farm. Creatures of the night awaken and the undead rise, as a night of relentless horror...Begins!
A newsteam trails a man as he travels to an undisclosed location to find his missing sister. Upon entering "Eden Parish" and meeting the community's leader, it becomes apparent to the newcomers that this paradise may not be as it seems.
Searching for a missing student, two private investigators break into his house and find collection of VHS tapes. Viewing the horrific contents of each cassette, they realize there may be dark motives behind the student's disappearance.
Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband.
"The Innkeepers" has a fairly simple plot: Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are two employees at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a once-grand hotel that is in its last weekend of operation. With business extremely slow, Claire and Luke, both amateur ghost hunting enthusiasts, decide to spend their last weekend at the hotel finding proof of the ghost of Madeline O'Malley, a bride who killed herself there. With the help of a former actress-turned-psychic (Kelly McGillis) who is one of the hotel's only guests, Claire and Luke's weekend takes some unexpected and scary turns.
That's really all there is here; a paper-thin plot with all the hooks and gimmicks of classic ghost stories (old hotels, ghostly brides, psychics, voices at night), and yet, for some reason, this film WORKS. The atmosphere is rich and the scares are predated by a great deal of suspense and well-plotted anticipation; the acting is also very good and the performances are lively. I think these things alone give the film a distinct personality of its own.
Some have complained that "nothing happens" in the film for over an hour, which is partially true; there really isn't much momentum until the third act, but the first and second act are filled with a lot of surprisingly entertaining interaction between the characters (elevated by quirky performances from Paxton, Healy, and even McGillis), supplemented with the occasional ghostly activity and the gloominess of the old New England hotel. I was never once bored by this film, despite others' proclamations of boredom.
I'd also like to mention the goofy demeanor that runs through the film from beginning to end there's a sense of lucidity and humor in terms of how straightforward and "by the books" the ghosts are in this film, which actually reminded me of something you'd find on the Disney Channel during the Halloween season. On the flipside of that, the dark and brooding atmosphere combined with the psychic plot twinges was reminiscent of Stephen King stories. It's an odd combination, but I think the quirkiness combined with darker plot elements is what makes the movie stand out.
By the end of the film, you may be asking yourself "what was the point?", and the answer is that there wasn't one, really. But that's besides the point, if that makes sense. "The Innkeepers" is the kind of movie you watch curled up by a fireplace on a cold night merely for the experience. It's like a classic, by-the-books ghost story translated to film; straightforward, atmospheric, sometimes uneventful, but ultimately a lot fun despite having any greater meaning. 8/10.
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