Fantasia reviews

Our critics weigh in on some backwoods horror and an autobiographical documentary about the Québécois Ed Wood, screening at the Fantasia festival.

The following films are screening as part of the Fantasia Film Festival, on through Aug. 6.


No matter how genuinely hard you work to make the best of a situation, sometimes the desired results never come. This is one of the lessons that the makers of Animosity were trying to convey in their film, and one they should have followed.

Carrie and Mike Bonner have recently moved into a new house with the hopes of building a family and living happily ever-after, but we know that won’t happen. Animosity opens up with a pre-credit scene where a mother murders her daughter in the woods behind her home, only to sell her house to the couple immediately after. What follows is a series of gruesome ordeals for Carrie at the hands of her neighbours and husband.

It’s almost impossible to describe this movie without selling its multiple twists and reveals, but one thing is for sure: director/writer Brendan Steere wants us to stay on the edge of our seats, gasping at every instant. Unfortunately, the pacing is sluggish and every time the plot takes a turn, it’s difficult to care because we have been sedated by mediocre dialogue and pointless shots that linger too long. When one of the major plot points is revealed at the 40-minute mark, there’s a good chance that the audience has already checked out.

Clocking in at almost two hours, it’s difficult not to wonder if Animosity could’ve been recut to set a more percussive tone and to save us from some very silly dialogue. Even when it turns into a revenge flick à la I Spit on your Grave, the satisfaction of seeing Carrie getting back at her tormentors doesn’t hit home. Animosity might have made a better short film, especially when you consider how well it works leaving its supernatural elements unexplained. It spends so much time giving us aimless scenes and side plots, even the few gory moments can’t save it. (Emmanuel Delacour)

Animosity screens today, Friday, July 18, at 7 p.m.


Brash & Bold: Filmmaking Boisvert Style

To say that Simon Boisvert is a cult filmmaker might be an exaggeration; his micro-budgeted films have been noticed by a few people who have taken a liking to his particular brand of melodrama, but he’s hardly been celebrated. His films come off somewhere between the ragged earnestness of a John Cassavetes mixed with the stilted soap opera fumblings of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. Seeing one of his films might lead you to wonder why exactly someone would spend their life’s savings to make this — knowing that he’s made five would likely convince you the man is insane.

Yet Boisvert is nowhere the eccentric that a Wiseau or Uwe Boll is, and it’s what makes Bold & Brash: Filmmaking Boisvert Style such a unique take on a familiar topic. Boisvert (who, it must be said, directs this documentary about himself) comes off not as a delusional maniac but rather a determined film lover who seems fully aware that he makes pretty bad movies. It’s out of a pure passion to create and provoke that Boisvert made these rather fumbled films about male-female relationships with minimal budgets and almost nonexistent distribution.

Bold & Brash: Filmmaking Boisvert Style doesn’t necessarily make you want to see Boisvert’s movies immediately in the way that, say, Best Worst Movie made Troll 2 a must-see. It’s not in the business of selling Boisvert as a misunderstood genius or camp icon, it simply tells the tale of how a guy with no particular talent but an endless amount of drive somehow created five films. It’s surprising how interesting sheer determination can be. (Alex Rose)

Bold & Brash: Filmmaking Boisvert Style screens on Saturday, July 19, 7:15 p.m.
Fantasia tickets can be purchased at Concordia’s Hall building (1455 de Maisonneuve W.) for $10 each, or online ($11 each), here.