Exclusive: Fantasia Showcases Reality Horror

South Korea's The Butcher (click to see it bigger)Cinéma-vérité. Reality horror. An unblinking look at terror at its most shaky. Call it what you will, the new trend of shot-on-the-cheap films featuring “found footage” from some horrifying incident or another isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact it’s far more popular now than it was immediately following The Blair Witch Project, the film everyone cites as starting this trend (technically it’d actually be Cannibal Holocaust, however).

It hasn’t escaped the notice of the Fantasia crew, so this year they’ve set aside a small spotlight called “Playback in Black”, which will feature three “reality horror” films that they think are the best of this new/old trend.

”When we think about the whole POV horror craze, we almost always think of American camcorder productions eager to cash-in on a growing and reasonably-cheap-to-produce trend,” Fantasia program director Mitch Davis told us. ”The trio of titles we’re showcasing here – coming from South Korea, the US and Spain – are absolutely going to smash that perception.”

As the schedule will reveal when it’s released this Thursday, June 26th, the Spanish favorite “>REC (review) will be one of the entries in “Playback in Black”, which only makes sense considering the history of the film’s directors and Fantasia. ”Fantasia was the first place in North America where people got to see films from both Balaguero and Plaza, nearly ten years ago (we even released Plaza’s incredible short film “Abuelitos” on our “>Small Gauge Trauma DVD) so we’re very glad to be able to show this one, finally,” Davis told us.

Korea’s entry is The Butcher (pictured), which is one of the few films to be made outside of the South Korean film industry, something that’s virtually unheard of. ”The film is effectively a furious condemnation of the mainstream Korean film industry told entirely through two cameras to give us the perspectives of both killer and victims,” Davis explained. ”The plot is dead-simple: a group of people are abducted, tied up and thrown onto a slaughterhouse floor. They are about to become the latest stars in a series of snuff films being shot for export to other countries who are all-too-eager to see footage of Koreans killing each other. It’s a nasty, bitter piece of work, as you can probably imagine!

We’ll be doing the Canadian premiere, and this will be only the 3rd time it’s been screened anywhere in the world. Thank the good people at the New York Asian Film Festival for turning us on to this one!”

Finally, a film I’ve never heard of but now cannot wait to catch, assuming I actually get to: Home Movie. Simple enough title, right? Don’t let it deceive you! What’s it about? ”Parents documenting their twin children’s behavior are confronted by the fact that their kids have a deep-rooted cruel streak that’s developing into something very, very severe,” Davis said. He went on to call it the most mature of the reality horror phase to date and believes it to be one of the biggest discoveries of the fest this year.

Fantasia will be the world premiere of writer/director Christopher Denham’s Home Movie and, as Mitch says, ”I can’t wait to see this one in front of an audience. I’m betting you’ll be able to hear a pin drop during the last reel. People are going to be frozen in their seats.” Check out the first two stills from Home Movie below!

You’ll have to wait for the schedule to go live to find out when REC, The Butcher and Home Movies are playing, but start making your plans now anyway! Fantasia runs from July 3rd–21st this year; I hope we see you there!

Home Movie (click to see it bigger) Home Movie (click to see it bigger)

Johnny Butane

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