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July 17, 2023


Way back in 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic and armed with nothing but an Instagram account, Bitesize Breakdown (then known as Bitesize Review) was granted official press credentials to its first international film festival: Fantasia, which Quentin Tarantino called the "the most important and prestigious genre film festival” in North America.

That year, Quentin (Bitesize Quentin, not Tarantino) and Nick reviewed 12 feature films, including still-hidden gems Dinner in America and The Mortuary Collection, and 24 short films, including Finn Wolfhard’s directorial debut. In some ways, it feels like a lifetime ago, obviously considering the COVID of it all, but also in terms of how far we have come. This year alone, Bitesize has had (or will have) people on the ground for Sundance Film Festival, Berlinale, Toronto International Film Festival, Venice International Film Festival, and (likely) New York Film Festival. As they say, we’ve come a long way, baby!

The thing is, despite whatever else may come for Bitesize, Fantasia International Film Festival will always hold a special place in our hearts, and this year…our fourth year covering the festival…Quentin and Nick are joined by Paige, Bitesize’s resident horror fanatic, to cover as many of the Fantasia offerings as possible. Only time will tell how much of the film slate we actually have time for, but the six films mentioned below are the ones we are the most excited about, including a Nic Cage movie, a new A24 joint, and buzzy titles from both Cannes and Sundance Film festivals.

Fantasia runs from July 20th to August 9th, 2023, so stay tuned for more coverage of the festival that James Gunn called “one of [his] very favorite film festivals in the world.”


Starring: Sophie Wilde, Joe Bird, Alexandra Jensen, Otis Dhanji, and Miranda Otto

Directors: Danny and Michael Philippou

With 2022 being a killer year for horror films, this year seems to have teetered away from the genre a bit. That said, Talk to Me has been getting rave reviews since it premiered at Sundance earlier this year, and it looks to be possibly the best horror film of 2023. That’s why this Australian horror film is my most anticipated film to come out of Fantasia this year. Plus, it’s worth mentioning that A24 already swooped up distribution rights, so you know they have high hopes for it. It could easily become the next great cult classic horror film, in line with It Follows, Paranormal Activity, and The Blair Witch Project. First time directors Danny and Michael Philippou have grabbed my attention, leaving me intrigued and terrified to hold someone’s hand. - Paige

LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP Starring: Georgina Campbell, Nick Blood, and Wai Ching Ho

Director: Teresa Sutherland

Following her breakout performance in last year's nightmare hit Barbarian, Georgina Campbell tries her hand at the genre once again with Lovely, Dark, and Deep. The story follows a recently hired park ranger who begins to deal with horrific happenings in the woods following some bizarre disappearances. If that isn't enough to grab your interest, it's the feature directorial debut of Teresa Sutherland, who is notably one of the writers of Mike Flanagan's Midnight Mass. Promoted as a psychological fever dream, I have no doubt this film will, at the very least, be memorable. Let’s see if Campbell has another horror hit on her hands. - Nick


Starring: Nicolas Cage, Joel Kinnaman, and Kaiwi Lyman

Director: Yuval Adler

Considering it stars Nic Cage, not to mention that I just named it as runner-up to Most Anticipated Movie for the rest of 2023 (go check out that article HERE), it should come as no surprise that Sympathy for the Devil is at the top of my list of festival offerings. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, Cage looks to be having an absolute ball playing The Passenger, an armed and stylishly dressed wildman who seems intent on terrorizing The Driver (the perpetually underrated Joel Kinnaman), a seeming everyman trying to get to the hospital to witness the birth of his child. Tense cat-and-mouse shenanigans are afoot! Do I think I already know the ending? Yep. But if Cage gon’ Cage, do I care? Absolutely not. - Quentin


Starring: Judy Greer, Edi Gathegi, Faithe Herman, and Payman Maadi

Director: Jared Moshe

Aporia, starring Judy Greer, comes from the mind of director Jared Moshe, who wrote and directed the A24 western The Ballad of Lefty Brown. Moshe has decided to hang up his cowboy hat and switch gears with this risky sci-fi film that will look at whether time can really heal all wounds. The film follows Sophie (Greer), a woman struggling to juggle debilitating grief, her job, and a family. However, when a friend of her late husband gives her the opportunity to literally turn back time, she finds herself grappling with an impossible choice that could have unexpected consequences. Needless to say, this time-traveling film with ethical stakes has me very curious. - Paige


Starring: Karim Leklou and Vimala Pons

Director: Stéphan Castang

There’s something poetic about a film that tells you the plot right in the title. Enter Vincent Must Die. This French film feels like a cross between The Purge and a video game, especially given the basic expectation of presumably watching a bunch of people attempt to kill Vincent (Karim Leklou). The unknown of it all raises so many different questions. Does Vincent deserve to die? Is he a good man? Are the reasons behind his pursuit personal or supernatural in nature? This is a film that breeds curiosity (apparently, it even has a tinge of romance involved), which is usually a good sign. With comparisons to Shaun of the Dead and some good buzz coming out of Cannes Film Festival, this is definitely a Fantasia highlight for me. - Nick


Starring: Andrew Bowser, Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Myrin Arden, T.C. Carson, Melanie Chandra, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Ralph Ineson, and Rivkah Reyes

Director: Andrew Bowser

Full disclosure: I know almost nothing about this movie or those involved aside from what the press materials provided by the festival told me. That said, those materials make a hell of a case. This wonderfully titled movie is about Marcus (Andrew Bowser), a wannabe Satanist and man-child calling himself “Onyx the Fortuitous.” He still lives with his parental units, and he has a dead-end job at Marty’s Meat Hut. Salvation from the drudgery of his life arrives in the form of an invitation from occult master Bartok the Great (Jeffrey Combs), who promises to lead him and others in rituals that will “renew” them as disciples of the ancient god Abaddon. That synopsis? Choice. Plus, Bloody Disgusting called it “an infectious Saturday Morning Cartoon of a comedy-horror movie” …and just look at that poster! I’m sold. - Quentin

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