Today at Fantasia

Our critics weigh in on a psychological bromance thriller and some ultraviolent, gory madness screening at the festival.


They Look Like People


The following films are screening as part of the Fantasia Film Festival, on through Aug. 4.


They Look Like People


While Christian is busy being let go from his job, Wyatt is shopping for sulfuric acid. While Christian is pumping iron at the gym to keep his old self at bay, his schizophrenic couch surfer of a friend is on the roof of his apartment, aiming a nail gun at passersby. The same pneumatic tool he was sticking up his mouth in a previous scene, wondering if the constant buzzing in his head will stop before malevolent shape-shifting entities declare total war.

Set in New York City, Perry Blackshear’s psychological bromance thriller They Look Like People could have been shot in pretty much any other city as it is mostly confined to protagonist Christian’s (Evan Dumouchel) apartment.  This sets up the framework for Wyatt’s long distance trip inside his own head.

With minimal use of special effects, Blackshear’s film succeeds in keeping the audience on their toes, while perusing the inner struggle of two life-long friends with issues beyond what anyone will really understand before the credits start rolling. Swept up by his imaginary quest, Wyatt’s character rapidly takes up the entire place, as the awaited apocalypse is set to destroy the human race.

If it wasn’t for details such as the questionable choice of using Mara’s (Margaret Ying Drake) high-pitched voice for voice-over purposes, the fact that Christian’s issues with his “old self” only get hinted at and, above all, the failed cornball romance between Christian and his judoka boss, They Look Like People could’ve been a damn good stab at exploring the schizophrenic mind. (Ralph Elawani)


They Look Like People is screening at the J.A. de Sève Theatre (1400 de Maisonneuve W.) tonight, Sunday, Aug. 2, 9:40 p.m. and at the J.A. de Sève Theatre (1400 de Maisonneuve W.) on Monday, Aug. 3, 4:45 p.m.





Far from being a newcomer to Fantasia (he has no less than three films playing this year), director Sion Sono is back with a movie that should deliver everything that genre fans crave: schoolgirls, gore and a psychotronic story. But could there be a commentary on gender issues buried beneath this insanity?

Shy schoolgirl Mitsuko (Reina Triendl) is having one hell of a day. While she’s sitting on the bus with her classmates, an invisible force slices clean through everything and everyone. Being the only survivor of this terrifying event, the young Japanese girl runs to her school to see, to her amazement, that the friends she saw die a few moments ago are fine and don’t remember anything about this incident. Obviously in a state of panic, Mitsuko tries to forget what she now believes was a temporary fit of madness and decide to skip class with her best friends. Her spunky friend Shur (literally short for ‘surreal’) gets carried away in a discussion about parallel dimensions and alternate universes. Could this explain what has been happening to Mitsuko? No one knows, but her day will certainly get weirder before too long.

You shouldn’t expect anything but pure madness from Tag, a movie in which the lead almost never stops running for her life. Heavy on the gore and hyper-violent action sequences, there’s rarely a calm moment in this movie. It’s a wild ride, and it makes little sense until the big reveal at the end. There are some feminist undertones explored here and there (and plenty of ‘panty-shots’ to bring contrast) but it’s not obvious until the very last act. Some will think that it’s a cheap shot at gender debates, other will find it clever. The truth is probably somewhere in between. (Emmanuel Delacour)


Tag is screening at the Hall Theatre (1455 de Maisonneuve W.) tomorrow, Monday, August 3, 9:45 p.m.


Fantasia tickets can be purchased at Concordia’s Hall building (1455 de Maisonneuve W.) for $10 each, or online ($11 each), here.