Fantastic Fest 2017 Preview: ‘The Square’ and Much More

The Square

Known as a launch pad for fright flicks, sci-fi adventures, thrillers, intense dramas and all types of weird comedies from the U.S. and abroad, Fantastic Fest kicks off tonight in Austin, Texas. Here’s a preview of what’s on tap.

The Wild, the West, the Women, the Rap Battle

Let’s start with several international stunners that we have seen and can recommend highly.

The Square

Visually striking and profoundly unsettling, The Square is an act of provocation masquerading as an art house drama. Christian is a museum curator in Sweden who is preoccupied with preparing a new exhibition of modern art. One morning he loses his watch, wallet and cufflinks, which leads him on a wild pursuit to retrieve his possessions. Instead, events soon spiral out of control in ways he could not have imagined and his entire world is turned upside down.

The movie poses a series of questions that are not easily answered and is consistently thoughtful and compelling. Elisabeth Moss costars as an American journalist and Dominic West provides timely support as an artist. The Square will open in theaters on October 27.

Five Fingers For Marseilles

It may start like many a Western — wide open vistas, good guys in a small town on the edge of nowhere, bad guys with evil intentions — but this brooding drama plays out unlike any Western you’ve seen before. Though it looks like the Old West, the setting is actually modern-day South Africa. We’re introduced to five young, steadfast friends who are torn apart by unexpected violence.

Years later, one of them returns to find his hometown and his friends have changed drastically. His former comrades have stepped up into leadership roles, yet they’re compromised by corruption. A new villain has arisen, posing a grave threat to everyone. Shorn of sentimentality and constantly brewing with tension, this movie is brutal, moving and unforgettable. We’re eagerly awaiting word on U.S. distribution plans.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

The movie provides a peek into the life of the man who created the comic book character Wonder Woman, as well as the complicated relationships that informed it. Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote star; look for it in theaters on October 13.

Rebecca Hall continues to crush every single performance she gives. Professor Marston & the Wonder Women may be her best

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) September 9, 2017


The latest from director Joseph Kahn (Detention) follows a grad student who becomes obsessed with battle rap. Distribution plans are expected to be announced soon.

BODIED is like the WHITE MAN CAN’T JUMP of battle-rap movies. Really fun, crowd loved

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) September 8, 2017

Coming Soon: Tight Places, Intense Encounters, Violence Unleashed

Listed in release date order, here are seven slices of upcoming genre goodness.

Gerald’s Game

Carla Gallo stars as a woman who finds herself tied up on a bed, alone and many miles from anyone else. Bruce Greenwood also stars. The dramatic thriller debuts on Netflix on September 29.

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Vince Vaughn stars as a former boxer who turns drug runner and ends up in prison, where he must fight for his life. The violent action-drama opens in theaters on October 6.


In this thriller, Frank Grillo is a double-crossed getaway driver who seeks revenge. The movie debuts on Netflix on October 20.

Blade of the Immortal

Celebrated Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike follows a samurai who cannot be killed as he comes to the aid of a young girl whose family has been slaughtered. Expect wanton slaughter and many, many dead bodies in this action thriller, due in theaters on November 3.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The life of a surgeon (Colin Farrell) begins to fall apart in this psychological horror movie. Nicole Kidman also stars; look for it in theaters on November 3.


A young woman discovers that she has fantastic powers, but this is anything but a typical super powered adventure. Instead, we’re anticipating a mysterious, slow-building drama from Danish director Joachim Trier (Louder Than Bombs). It opens on November 10.


A woman exacts revenge upon wealthy men for their heinous crimes. Matilda Lutz stars; the extreme horror thriller will open in theaters in early 2018 and then will be available exclusively on the Shudder streaming service.


Bonus Picks: Make Room for the Truly Weird and Disturbing

All three of these movies will be enjoying their world premieres at Fantastic Fest. We’re hoping to hear great things.

Anna and the Apocalypse

A musical? From Scotland? With zombies? At a high school? Yes, yes, yes and yes are the answers to those questions. Judging by the first trailer, we’re hoping for a truly unique experience about the power and meaning of true friendship.


A vacation in the snowy woods turns into a bloody nightmare of epic proportions. Barbara Crampton, Brea Grant and A.J. Bowen star.

Tigers Are Not Afraid

A young girl ends up on the street after her mother disappears, finding refuge with a gang of children who are more dangerous than they look. The fantasy thriller hails from Mexico.