Next week sees the kickoff of the 22nd edition of BIFAN, the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea. One of the largest genre film festivals in the world, it stands alongside Sitges, Fantasia, Fantaspoa, Fantastic Fest, Screamfest, and the like in bringing incredible genre fare from around the world to local audiences. It is also a place for filmmakers to premiere their film in new markets so as to draw interest for potential distribution. Basically, it’s a big deal.
In case you missed the GARGANTUAN announcement about a month ago, nearly 300 films will be playing between July 12 and 22, making for one of the most hectic and packed film festivals I think I’ve ever heard of. And while whittling down that kind of list to something manageable to watch is rather impossible, that doesn’t mean I can’t pick out several films that immediately stand out!
With that in mind, I’ve combed through the massive list of BIFAN’s program and picked 10 movies that I know audiences can’t wait to see! Let us know which ones you’re interested in and we’ll see if we can squeeze them into our schedule!
BIFAN 2018 takes place July 12-22. More information can be found on their official website.
“Pacific Northwest. 1983 AD. Outsiders Red Miller and Mandy Bloom lead a loving and peaceful existence. When their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand, Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with fire.”
From the director of Beyond the Black Rainbow comes a cosmic horror/action hybrid that stars Nicolas Cage. If I need to sell you anymore on this film, I don’t even know what you’re doing here.
Knife + Heart
“Paris, summer 1979. Anne is a producer of gay porn at discount. When Loïs, her editor and companion, leaves her, she attempts to reclaim her by turning a film more ambitious with the flamboyant Archibald.”
I’m 100% for erotic thrillers, especially when there’s murder in the air. And as BIFAN’s site puts it, the film, “…is mixed with non-mainstream elements such as camp aesthetic, slasher, giallo from the 1970s.” It’s safe to say that I’m very much intrigued.
“When an injured male leftist on the run discovers the remote stronghold of the Female Liberation Army — a radical feminist terrorist group whose mission is to usher in a female world order — one of the members takes pity on him and hides him in the basement. However, the man in the basement is just one of many secrets threatening to disrupt the FLA’s mission from within.”
Okay, this sounds batshit bonkers and I’m here for every second of it. Plus, while the above image doesn’t really show it, it seems much of this film takes place at a convent-turned-terrorist-training-ground. Something about that just tickles me pink!
“A criminal psychologist and a forensic fingerprint expert work together to track down a serial killer who targets people who have been acquitted of notable crimes and uses their guilt. Based on the best crime psychology novel in China.”
Something that I’ve said here and there is that I absolutely love serial killer thrillers. Something about the cat-and-mouse chase that takes place while the body count rises just gets my blood pumping and my heart racing. When it comes to these kinds of films, while the US does ’em good, Asia simply does ’em way better. Bring it on.
The Mysterious Family
“The Mysterious Family revolves around Miao Miao, a young woman whose life and mental state changes after surviving a brutal attack by a stranger. While trying to come to terms with her trauma, she has a presentiment of a tragic event, and has to race against time in an attempt to find the truth and change the course of events.”
While I loathe watching films that use rape and/or sexual assault as the foundation for story, something about this film makes it sound like it could be a fascinating dive into the mental state of someone who wishes they could turn back the clock and do things over.
“Hye-jeong works in a factory on the outskirts of the city. All she wants is to live alone in peace. One night, however, she finds she has become a ghost. As a ghost, she goes back in time, day by day, and tries to keep out of harm’s way.”
Creepy. Asian. Ghost. Film.
“Ghost story girl appears once every four years in the film club, and the movies she stars in are always masterpieces. One day, Isora invites a silent black-haired girl named Minami to help make the movie, and the legend seems to come true.”
What I love about the description of this film is that it seems that the horror playing throughout the film is also partially built upon, “Is what I’m seeing really the truth or is there more to this story at hand?” I love being kept in the dark only for the light to shine at the end. Those revelatory moments are precisely what I want!
Tower. A Bright Day
“Mula has been raising her sister’s child as her own. When her sister suddenly returns, Mula is deeply concerned she might want her child back. Yet the reason for her visit is very different.”
Hailing out of Poland, this is an opportunity to see how Eastern Europe creates something entrancing and unsettling. As BIFAN’s site puts it, this movie is, “…an artistic horror illustrated with [a] witchlike, blasphemous and dismal mood.” Consider me already sold.
“Kwon Min, a detective who was chasing a serial killer who escaped from prison, [has] stepped on a mine in a remote forest near the DMZ. All she has is a Bluetooth headset and a gun. In a difficult situation, her struggle for survival begins.”
Again, I love serial killer movies and this one has the great twist of locking the detective in one place because she’s dead if she moves even an inch. At this point, what can the escaped serial killer do to torment her and how can she survive this? I’m dying to know!
The Closed Ward
“Seven people wake up being confined in an autopsy room of an old closed ward. The protagonists who do not know why they are gathered at the closed room ask their own identities, threatening each other. Eventually, as a single event in which everyone is involved comes to light, the film shows the structure of the truth game of survival. Horrified people, the clock with mysterious numbers, the CCTV which seems to be watching over the characters and the like are settings which might have been inspired by Saw , the epitome of the secret-room horror genre.”
Perhaps the most pure horror film on this list, sometimes you just need to see people lose their shit and die. That’s what I’m hoping to get from The Closed Ward!