Fantastic Fest has officially wrapped up for 2022 and ComicBook.com has a slew of reviews from some choice movies that screened at this year's festival. Featuring an array of programming from around the globe, Fantastic Fest this year offered us the chance to see highly anticipated movies like Shin Ultraman, plus documentary Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters, and a few things that surprised us just by watching on a whim. You can find nine of our capsule reviews for movies like Deep Fear, Lynch/Oz, and The Offering below!
All Jacked Up and Full of Worms
A new heir apparent to the style of cult filmmaking that John Waters pioneered with Multiple Maniacs and Female Trouble, writer/director Alex Phillips has crafted the most bizarre but always entertaining kind of movie that fans of Greasy Strangler will need to see. As lead character Roscoe wanders aimlessly around his cuckold-infused marriage, he encounters Benny, a man who opens the door to their psychotropic world of the worms. All Jacked Up and Full of Worms is the type of movie that some will see as a criminal act, depicting insane lifestyles that can only exist in celluloid, though feel so authentic that there must be kernels of truth there. Not everyone will like this, most probably won't even make it to the end, but for the few that can see the gonzo artistry on display, it's a movie that will become a mantlepiece for transgressive debauchery on film.
Rating: 4 out of 5
For most of its run time, Country Gold plays into the comedy, languishing in the absurd scenario of two country music icons meeting in a dingy honky-tonk bar in Nashville, Tennessee. To his credit, Ben Hall's take on George Jones is one of the main sources of laughter in the film with MIckey Reece finding many unique ways to maintain his character's awkward status quo that are just as funny (plus, naturally, plenty of bizarre character actors that appear in just one or two scenes).
Rating: 4.5 out of 5prevnext
This French horror film has an identity problem. On one hand, its claustrophobic cinematography livens up its Parisian catacombs setting, but on the other hand, the fact that it isn't satisfied with just languishing in this and must instead throw in a Nazi subplot into it, making this one feel like its doing an about-face right in front of you. Actor Sofia Lesaffre is captivating as one of the film's leads, but overall there's too many flavors happening in this dish for it to be wholly satisfying.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5prevnext
Director Luis Javier Henaine channels Nightcrawler by way of Mexican bruja legends, delivering a film that shows a lot of really interesting ideas but doesn't have a strong enough cast to make it compelling. Harold Torres stars as Santiago, a newspaper photographer that awaits the calls of the grisliest crimes so he can exploit them for his own gain. After crossing a witch on the wrong side of one of these encounters, though, Santiago begins to slowly lose parts of himself (sadly, not literally). Every beat can be seen from a mile away though, but the film's conclusion still packs a punch even if the preceding hours weren't engaging.
Rating: 2 out of 5prevnext
Filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe's latest is also his best. Having previously examined the construction of the shower scene in Psycho and the origins of Ridley Scott's Alien, Philippe now looks at the entire oeuvre of a filmmaker with a feature that digs deep into the influence of The Wizard of OZ on everything that David Lynch has created. Joined by filmmakers like John Waters, David Lowery, and Karyn Kusama in making all of his points, Philippe delivers a compelling watch made up entirely of footage from other films. Some repetition keeps it from feeling like a wholly well-rounded documentry, but its evidence is as compelling as the subject is mystifying.
Rating: 4 out of 5prevnext
The Third Saturday in October Part V
As an Alabama native and slasher fan, I am the target audience for this, to the point that it makes me wonder how some can enjoy the entire tableau on display. Writer/director Jay Burleson mostly does about what you expect for a film that is a larger-than-life parody of a slasher franchise five movies deep in the 1990s, which is to say it has mundane moments of nothingness and some solid kills. It at least has the good sense to be authentic to its setting, has good production design, and actually hired a DP that knew what they were doing.
Rating: 3 out of 5prevnext
Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters
A unique insight into the life of writer/artist Mike Mignola that should very well be the push many need to finally read the world of Hellboy. What makes Drawing Monsters compelling is not only the way it showcases so much of Mignola's comic talent but also how it ties all of his successes (including his biggest character) into his early life and family influence. The doc also goes out of its way to show the burden of success and the benefits/downsides to larger mainstream appeal. Drawing Monsters is necessary viewing even for hardcore Mignola fans.
Rating: 4 out of 5prevnext
Director Oliver Park takes a classic story of loss and grief and makes sure to infuse it with a unique monster. Though much of the film's basic plot is playing the hits of what one might expect, there's still a level of thought given to how it can stand out a little bit; plus, the performances are top-notch. Those that love a good fright will find themselves the Mayor of Jump-Scare City with this movie, which manages to surprise you with how often and how unique its scares can become
Rating: 3.5 out of 5prevnext
Many may be expecting a kaiju-bashing adventure out of Shin Ultraman, but it really only delivers that in the first half of its story, spending the rest of its time on the other extraterrestrials that make up the Ultraman mythos and how Earth/humans fit into a galactic conflict. The kaiju sequences on the whole are perhaps the best of the film, fun and concise action that also rework the hero and his monstrous enemies in a modern sense that manages to separate them from other modern kaiju remakes. Ultraman fighting other humanoid aliens in grand scale is less satisfying, perhaps signaling why we haven't seen a Shin Godzilla follow-up where he's fighting other Toho monsters; it's awkward, and not in a way that plays into being self-referential to '60s Ultraman production values.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5prev