Fantastic Fest 2017 Day 1


Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) is a rich girl who hates her stepfather and is trying not to let on that her life isn’t going as well as she would like. Amanda (Olivia Cooke) is a rich girl who is devoid of emotion, is charged with animal cruelty for the unconventional way she put her horse down, and makes no attempt to hide her problems from the world. They become unlikely friends and decide that they might need to take drastic action to deal with Lily’s dislike of her stepfather. Also featuring Anton Yelchin as a drug dealer whose criminal past is interfering with his future aspirations, it’s a fun dark comedy that is well acted. It progresses slowly but is never boring, and definitely doesn’t make the mistake of showing too much.


The Passenger (short film)

A former cosmonaut must deal with life back on Earth after an incident long ago. Things keep going wrong for him, and he drinks a lot. We’re stuck watching this guy mope for longer than necessary before the reveal, which is not nearly enough to make up for the tedium of what comes before it.



The titular Soviet space station has taken a hit and lost power and is spinning on all axes. Fortunately, it’s currently unmanned, but without power, it’s only a matter of time until it falls out of its orbit and crashes to Earth, possibly in an inhabited area. And to make matters worse, it looks like those pesky Americans are scrambling to launch a shuttle with a cargo bay conveniently just big enough to hold the small station. The Russians must get there first and fix the station to save Soviet pride, and if they can’t,  then they’ll need to shoot it down to prevent the Americans from getting their hands on it. Based on a true story, it’s quite entertaining but surprisingly melodramatic,  almost to the point of being ridiculous.


Two-Sentence Horror Stories: Singularity (short film)

A female-identifying transgendered person decides to continue modifying herself by implanting an antenna into her arm that gives her body access to the internet. She can’t consciously use it yet, but she’s definitely getting signals, and then she starts seeing things and suspects that her body might be communicating with others on her behalf. It’s an interesting idea encapsulated in a well-made film.

Vampire Clay

An art teacher at a small, rural Japanese school comes across a mysterious bag of clay. Her students start using it, and then weird things start happening. The clay begins to take them over. It’s an interesting premise that’s played for laughs at the beginning, and it works well then, despite some pretty crappy effects. But then it starts trying to explain things, and it loses its charm well before it finally comes to an end (then keeps going for a while longer as it tacks on additional unnecessary scenes).