Fantastic Fest 2017 Day 8


Lefa has a gift for gardening, and he’s been accepted to a prestigious South African university where he will study botany. With the help of his albino best friend Papi, Lefa exercises his skills by growing a strong, aromatic strain of marijuana he calls Wizard. It’s popular in their ghetto, but they want to try their luck selling it on a larger scale. The plot is unveiled in an interesting anthology-like style in which a trio of narrators tell stories to the audience, complete with some entertaining false starts. Aside from some unnecessary lingering on a party scene near the end of the film, its 79 minutes pass quickly, and it’s complemented by impressive cinematography and an engaging soundtrack.


Bad Genius

Lynn is a highly intelligent student who has earned straight As for her entire educational career. She’s been given the opportunity to enter a better school where she soon makes a friend, Grace, who is struggling to pass one of her classes, so Lynn helps her out by slipping her the answers to a test. This works well, and soon Grace and her entrepreneurial boyfriend Pat convince Lynn to expand the cheating ring to a much larger scale. The movie starts off great, with good pacing and a lot of humor, but really falls apart in the end with excessive melodrama and an unsatisfying conclusion.



Heather (Zoë Kravitz) is a well-known actress and Jill (Lola Kirke) is her assistant and one of her best friends. After a late night of partying, Jill is drunk and in no condition to drive home, so she sleeps over at Heather’s house. Jill leaves early in the morning for a meeting, and when she gets back, she finds Heather dead and all the evidence points to Jill. She’s got to try to figure out what happened before detective Ahn (John Cho) feels like he has enough to arrest her. It’s a serviceable whodunit with lots of potential suspects with motives, but the ending will probably be highly divisive between people who think it’s clever and those who think it’s a cop-out. At any rate, it’s certainly not an outstanding film.


Two-Sentence Horror Stories: Snap (short film)

A well-known blogger is a pariah after prone believe he goaded someone into suicide. Then bad things start happening to him. There’s not much to hold your attention in this one, and almost nothing of interest near the beginning. It’s a slog even as a short film.

Vidar the Vampire

Vidar meets Jesus and learns that he’s a vampire. Then Vidar gets converted and finds that it’s not what he had expected. Life as a vampire kind of sucks. But a movie about life as a Christian vampire can be pretty funny and irreverent, especially when it’s only 82 minutes long.