Fantasia 2023: Our 15 Most Anticipated Films

From werewolves to stop-motion puppets to Don Lee punching folks, these are the Fantasia picks we’re most looking forward to.


Larry Fessenden has tackled vampires (Habit) and Frankensteins (Depraved); now it’s time to tackle werewolves with opening night feature Blackout. Starring Alex Hurt as an artist struggling with his recent werewolf-dom, and hell-bent on revenge on everyone from ruthless developers (Marshall Bell) to former lovers, it looks to be a classic Fessenden mix of brutal gore and character-based melancholy. [CW]

Deep Sea

Fantasia 2023

Deep Sea has everything I love in cinema: folklore, water, and stupefying visuals. China’s latest animated wonder promises heartfelt adventure, fearsome beasties, and exciting animation. Chinese animation has been on a roll lately, and I’m going to ride this wave as much as possible. [B.L. Panther]

The Fantastic Golem Affairs

I love when a bit of magical realism sets off an absurd spiral of events, and The Fantastic Golem Affairs promises to be just that. This Spanish fantastical dramedy has an immaculately manicured production design, and its wry comedy promises to make it a richly queer delight. [B]

Hundreds of Beavers

Fantasia 2023

Perhaps is it Warner Bros 100th Anniversary that has made “Looney-Tunesque” pervade through this year’s cinema and criticism, but Hundreds of Beavers looks like it takes it to heart the most. Told with no dialogue, this seems a highly physical film that reminds us what Cinema can show rather than tell. Director Mike Cheslik’s The Lake Michigan Monster (2018) is still a yearly treat in my Chicago household, and I’m so excited to see what he does next. [B]

In My Mother’s Skin

A magical realist Taiwanese x Filipino period piece about malevolent folklore is a no-brainer for the top of my list. Fantasia continues its trend of introducing amazing contemporary work with magical realism coming out of the Philippines to global audiences. With its gothic wartime setting, In My Mother’s Skin promises to be yet another example of magical realism’s profound relationship to the decolonial spirit. ​​[B]

Lovely, Dark, and Deep

Fantasia 2023

Teresa Sutherland, who penned the haunting woman-in-the-West horror film The Wind, serves up a delicious debut in Lovely, Dark, and Deep. A park ranger (Barbarian‘s Georgina Campbell) finds herself assigned to an isolated forest outpost marked by mysterious disappearances, only to experience visions of the past and portents of a grim present. Sutherland has a clear interest in exploring the horrors women face even in isolation, and it looks to be a visual stunner. [CW]

Marry My Dead Body

This story of queer and bureaucratic haunting looks like a delightful and ghostly mix of social critique and tenderness. It feels like a Chinese Stevie Nicks wrote I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. I mean that in the best possible way. [B]

Mother Land

Fantasia 2023

This arctic stop-motion adventure from Korea about a young girl’s search for her place in the world is exactly how I plan to beat the heat during this late summer festival. Filled with folklore, enchantment, and wee little deer, I can’t say enough about how precious this animation looks. [B]

Pett Kata Shaw

Folklore is well suited to the anthology film genre. Pett Kata Shaw from Bangladesh is a kaleidoscopic mix of ancient tales told with contemporary sensibilities. If Nuhash Humayun’s early short film, Moshari, is any indicaton, his feature film promises to be an exciting and thought-provoking mix of horror and lore that remains rooted in a highly political point of view. [B]

The Primevals

Fantasia 2023

Fantasia is no stranger to long-gestating stop-motion projects; look at Phil Tippett’s Mad God just last year. This time, the late David Allen’s The Primevals is finally here, a project that’s been gestating since the 1970s and even beyond Allen’s death from cancer in 1999. However, producer Charles Band and longtime Allen associate Chris Endicott have finished the film, a beautiful tribute to the creature features of Ray Harryhausen. A fateful encounter with the legendary Yeti sends a scientific expedition into the Himalayas to track down its origins, revealing a new tribe of mysterious beings rendered in gorgeous detail by Allen and team’s animation. [CW]

Restore Point

The first sci-fi film to come from the Czech Republic in four decades, Restore Point serves up Blade Runner-esque cyberpunk thrills, depicting a futuristic Prague where citizens no longer fear death thanks to a cloud server where everyone can upload their memories. That becomes the setting for a cyber-noir complete with grizzled detective (Andrea Mohylová), murdered corporate executives, femmes fatale, extremist rebels, and neon-soaked cityscapes, it ought to scratch the itch for anyone starved for more Philip K. Dick-ian explorations of technology and human frailty. [CW]


Fantasia 2023

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes was one of Fantasia’s loveliest treats in 2021, a mini-time-loop comedy with airtight logic and even more charming DIY filmmaking. Now, director Junta Yamaguchi is back with even more time-bending mayhem: this time, a waitress at an isolated mountain inn just outside Tokyo finds herself in yet another “tiny loop” scenario. But now, the Mobius strip nature of the loop is broken; this time, events branch off across the inn, leaving young Mikoto (Riko Fujitani) the only one who can get the inn unstuck in time. [CW]

The Roundup: No Way Out

Last year’s festival saw the second installment of his Outlaw Crime Series and he’s back again with a third! Don Lee (Train to Busan) returns as Sergeant Ma Seok-do, a detective with a heart as big as his brawn. This Korean actioner series has all the fun tropes we love alongside brutal grappling and stylistic violence, but it’s really the comedic timing and tenderness of Don Lee that keeps me coming back for more. [B]

Shin Kamen Rider

Fantasia 2023

Evangelion auteur Hideaki Anno is set to finish his trilogy of classic Japanese genre reinventions (Shin Godzilla, Shin Ultraman) with a similar take on the Kamen Rider franchise of tokusatsu action shows. This time, the motorcycle-riding superhero has a darker, more violent take on the material, while also embracing the innate silliness of the vintage TV shows that made this genre so very special. [CW]

Sympathy for the Devil

Nic Cage may not be showing up at the fest proper, but his latest film is: a cat-and-mouse thriller set in Vegas (one of Cage’s most frequent cinematic destinations), in which a driver (Joel Kinnaman) picks up a gun-toting passenger (Cage) for a high-stakes game whose climax is sure to be insane. Cage in a red satin jacket with matching hair, wailing to the rooftops? We’re sold, frankly. [CW]

Where the Devil Roams

Fantasia 2023

The other Adams Family is back again with another chiller! This time they set their sights on the carnivalesque with a tale of carnivals, the occult, and the weird. If Where The Devil Roams is anything like the creative family’s other works such as Hellbender (2021) and The Deeper You Dig (2019), this is sure to be one chilling tale that never lets up on the cinematic horror tropes and maintains rich focus on family dynamics under stress. [B]

Clint Worthington

Clint Worthington is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Spool, as well as one of the founders of the website/podcast Alcohollywood in 2011. He is also a Senior Writer at Consequence of Sound, as well as the co-host/producer of Travolta/Cage. You can also find his freelance work at IndieWire, UPROXX, Syfy Wire, The Takeout, and Crooked Marquee.

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