Cult Hero Fantasia Festival review 2022 Montreal premiere

What to watch at the Fantasia Film Festival this weekend

Reviews of the Canadian horror action comedy Cult Hero, premiering today, and the Korean horror film Seire.

​​The Fantasia Film Festival began on July 14 and continues till Aug. 3, bringing a wide variety of genre cinema to Montreal theatres at Concordia University’s downtown campus. Here is our fourth review round-up (to read the others, please click here).

Cult Hero

Cult Hero, directed by Jesse T. Cook

Cult Hero is a Canadian horror action comedy that frequently borders on and often topples over into the absurd in its lampooning of action heroes, real estate agents, cults, Karens, reality television and the self-help world.  It was co-written and directed by Jesse Thomas Cook of Monster Brawl and The Hoard fame, someone who knows his way around B-horror.

Dale Domazar (Ry Barrett) had a hit reality TV show as “Cult Buster” until his ineptitude was laid bare on screen. He finds his chance at a comeback in Kallie Jones (Liv Collins, also a cowriter) a control freak who unknowingly checked her emasculated and near comatose husband Brad (Justin Bott) into a wellness retreat that’s actually a cult. Together they form a hilarious duo who encounter their fair share of gore and insanity as Kallie seeks to save Brad and Dale strives to reboot his career. The humour is aided in no small part by the fact that Collins is untiring in her commitment to being a “Karen,” and Domazar seems like an effective fusion of Jack Bauer, Jim Lahey, Andy Bernard and Jason Sudeikis.

The comedy is as uneven as it is relentless; one moment, you’ll be laughing out loud, and the next you’ll be muttering “WTF.” Cult Hero features a decent overall narrative and a solid cast; the actors are completely in sync with the tone (many of them having worked with Cook before.) The film is a lot of fun if you bring some patience and delight in silliness, as everything about it is over the top. (MC & KF)

Cult Hero has its world premiere at Concordia’s Salle J.A. de Sève (1400 de Maisonneuve W.) on Saturday, July 30, 4:45 p.m. 


Seire Fantasia Festival review Montreal 2022
Seire, direcred by Kang Park

Seire is an ambiguous Korean folk horror that focuses on the increasing perils of Woo-jin (Seo Hyun-Woo) as he strives to navigate seire, a 21-day post-birth period when newborns are at risk, under the watchful eyes of his superstitious wife. This reluctant father is plagued by flashbacks and nightmares as his past returns to haunt him. Signs and bad luck proliferate after he blatantly breaks custom by attending a funeral, and his nightmares become indistinguishable from reality. This will leave viewers questioning whether it’s his taboo actions, a haunting, or a combination of both causing the horrors that seem to impact all those close to him.   

The debut feature by director Kang Park, Seire plays as a slow-burning psychological horror story, focused tightly on the fears, regrets, and gnawing guilt of its protagonist. It’s suffused with the clammy feelings generated by the all-too-common phenomenon of heterosexual males’ terminal alienation from their female partners, especially post-birth. Thematically dense, with some effective performances, the movie is a supremely controlled piece of work, intentional ambiguity aside. Genre fans might find it too tightly restrained. Even when the paranormal creeps in, Seire retains a certain decorum and relies too heavily on inferred dream sequences’ plausible deniability. It could awaken some viewers’ antipathy toward so-called “elevated horror.” On the other hand, it could definitely cause sleepless nights for new parents, dads in particular. Seire won’t be an easy film for everyone to swallow, but it’s not to be dismissed. (MC & KF)

Seire screens at Concordia’s Salle J.A. de Sève (1400 de Maisonneuve W.) on Sunday, July 31, 9:15 p.m and again on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 5:15. 

For the complete Fantasia 2022 program, please visit the festival’s website.

For the latest in film and TV, please visit our Film & TV section.