Eight Fear-Filled Films to Watch for at Fantasia’s 2024 Edition

July 8, 2024

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at josephperry@gmail.com. He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Fantasia, Canada’s premiere genre-film festival, has announced all of the selections for its upcoming 28th edition, running from July 18 through August 4, 2024 at Montreal’s Concordia Hall and J.A. de Sève cinemas, with additional screens and events at Cinémathèque québécoise and Cinéma du Musée. Following are recommendations for eight of the more than 125 feature films scheduled. I have seen the first three listed below and can highly recommend them. The other five have me champing at the bit to get a peek at. Below are Fantasia’s official descriptions, each one followed in italics by thoughts from yours truly.


Legendary J-horror director Koji Shiraishi (NOROI: THE CURSE) brings the genre to new levels of fun with HOUSE OF SAYURI. A vengeful ghost disseminates a family until a counterattack from a bold grandma brings a startling new dynamic into the house. Shifting tones in surprising and destabilizing ways, this horror comedy alternates from a galvanizing spiritual training montage to profoundly dramatic moments, coming together to create a truly unique cinematic experience. North American Premiere.

I watched House of Sayuri at Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) fewer than 48 hours before writing this, and I can tell you that it blew me away with its masterful weaving of chilling ghost story, go-get-’em humor, touching drama, and a chilling gut punch.

CUCKOO (USA) – dir. Tilman Singer

A seventeen-year-old girl (Hunter Schafer, HBO’s Euphoria) is forced to move with her family to a resort where things are not what they seem in this astonishing mix of domestic tension, body horror, and perverse science from the gifted director of LUZ. Co-starring Dan Stevens, Jessica Henwick, Marton Csókás, and Jan Bluthardt. Official selection: Berlin International Film Festival 2024, SXSW 2024. Winner of the Silver Raven Award at the 2024 Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film. Montréal Premiere.

I also saw Cuckoo at BIFAN a couple of days ago, and it is crazy in all the right ways. Horror and science fiction fans alike should find plenty to love in this wild offering.


Lauded following its premiere at SXSW, Annick Blanc’s highly anticipated debut feature finally makes its way home. HUNTING DAZE takes us on a wild trip, following Nina’s (Nahéma Ricci, ANTIGONE) journey as she takes refuge with a rowdy group of men after being stranded in a northern forest. The film plays like a drunken fever dream, exposing a microcosm of masculinity in which one’s desire to belong threatens to upend the group. With dreamy visuals and transfixing performances by a cast of Quebec talent (Marc Beaupré, Alexandre Landry, Bruno Marcil), this is a bachelor weekend unlike any you’ve ever seen. Canadian Premiere.

I reviewed Hunting Daze for its SXSW premiere in March, calling it “an often hypnotic, often unsettling feature that earnestly attempts to tackle modern-day power dynamics between the sexes and different races.


Award-winning Mexican filmmaker Isaac Ezban (THE INCIDENT, PARALLEL) returns with his fifth – and most personal – feature, a disturbing tale that he’s spent the last seven years bringing into light. PÁRVULOS is a dystopian coming-of-age horror story that begins with three young brothers living alone in a remote cabin, hiding a terrifying secret in their basement. Where it goes from there will pull the breath from your lungs, as the children’s sealed world is forcefully expanded by monstrous elements beyond their control. A poignant nightmare inspired by GOODNIGHT MOMMY, LORD OF THE FLIES, A QUIET PLACE, and the universes of Guillermo del Toro (an outspoken admirer of Ezban’s work), PÁRVULOS features some of the most gruesome practical make-up effects the screen has seen in years and is electrified by astonishing performances from actors Felix Farid, Leonardo Cervantes, Mateo Ortega, Norma Flores, Horacio Lazo, Carla Adell, Juan Carlos Remolina, and the great Noé Hernández (WE ARE THE FLESH). From the producers of HUESERA: THE BONE WOMAN. World Premiere.

I have been a huge fan of Isaac Ezban’s films since I first saw The Incident on its 2014 film festival run. He is a modern-day master of genre cinema, and I absolutely can’t wait to see what he has in store for an unsuspecting world this time.

BRUSH OF THE GOD (Japan) – Dir. Keizo Murase

Two teens must save the world from a many-headed, mythological dragon in this generously self-referential giant-monster movie from 88-year-old master tokusatsu artisan Keizo Murase, who makes his directorial debut following a lifetime crafting monster suits for all of Japan’s best-known kaiju films. Canadian Premiere.

If it’s kaiju, count me in! I love giant Japanese monster movies and Brush of the God sounds fantastic!

ODDITY (Ireland) – Dir. Damian McCarthy

A blind medium (Carolyn Bracken, YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER) uncovers the truth behind her sister’s death with the help of a frightening wooden mannequin. One of the scariest and most imaginative films you’ll see anywhere this year. Winner of the Midnighter Audience Award at SXSW 2024. Quebec Premiere.

With its reputation as one of the eeriest fright-fare features on this year’s festival circuit, Oddity sounds like required viewing for horror-cinema aficionados.


An inexplicable wave of tragic deaths plunges two investigators into the heart of a fateful whirlwind, where logic and facts have no value as a far-fetched urban legend seems to come true. A mother plagued by terrifying dreams, seeing her friends and colleagues disappear one after the other, and her family witness the horror unfold. Director and screenwriter Tomojiro Amano (TRAPPED IN MAKYO) skillfully fuses the styles of Eastern and Western classics, referencing RINGU, IT FOLLOWS, and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET among others, to create an intimate, oppressive work that constantly keeps viewers on the edge of their seats as it slowly and subtly unveils the pandemic-like slaughter outside. At the crest of the international horror-film harvest of 2024, already a banner year, THIS MAN is sure to lodge itself in viewers’ memories. With such potential, a Hollywood remake wouldn’t be surprising. International Premiere

I’m always in the mood for more J-horror, and this East-meets-West hybrid sounds like a blast.


A young woman, lost in a series of meaningless connections through dating apps, falls in love with a charismatic man who is hiding a dark secret that turns her affair into a dangerous obsession. Smart, tragic and unsettling, Pure Cinema host Elric Kane’s first solo-directed feature is a character-driven supernatural nightmare that explores the demons of modern dating in ways that are both horrific and disturbingly relatable. Swipe right on this profound piece of genre cinema that is destined to become a horror classic. Starring Blu Hunt (Netflix’s Another Life), Ben Smith-Petersen (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD), Katherine Hughes (ECHO 3), and John Karna (SCREAM). Co-Written by Webb Wilcoxen (The Frontier). Produced by Monte Yazzie, Matt Mercer (BLISS), and Rebekah McKendry (GLORIOUS). World Premiere

Film academic and podcast host Elric Kane knows his stuff when it comes to horror cinema, so his debut solo feature should be a diabolical delight!


A road trip through Canadian oil fields conjured up fantasies of secrets deep in the dirt for the Adams family, and inspired them to create HELL HOLE, an indie rock-n-roll monster movie set at a far-away fracking site. Known for their DIY ethos, John and Lulu Adams and Toby Poser, partnering with Shudder, have joined the team behind The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs and FX legend Todd Masters to shoot their latest in Serbia with a local cast and crew. Absurd, mutinous, and transgressively comical, Hell Hole is old-school sci-fi horror, yet in typical family fashion, they subvert the genre with textures of biological and environmental horror in tandem with questions of gender and bodily autonomy. This will be the fourth time that Fantasia World Premieres work from the gifted filmmaking family, following launches of THE DEEPER YOU DIG, HELLBENDER, and WHERE THE DEVIL ROAMS. World Premiere

I have enjoyed every film that The Adams family has crafted together so far, and being a lifelong creature feature fan, I am super excited to see what creepiness their latest effort holds.

For Fantasia’s full schedule, check out https://fantasiafestival.com/en/.

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