The sci-fi, fantasy and horror films you need to see at the BFI London Film Festival
The BFI London Film Festival is almost upon us, bringing us some of the best new films from around the world. There’s a whole host of films and a wealth of genres, and for fans of sci-fi, fantasy and horror, there’s some truly wonderful movies to look forward to.
First up is Ben Wheatley’s hotly-anticipated High-Rise, which brings an all-star cast to JG Ballard’s superb tale of humanity gone rotten, including Tom Hiddleston, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Reece Shearsmith and many more. It’s a wonderfully savage book and we can’t wait to see Wheatley’s take on the material, which has already prompted a lot of conversation from Toronto.
Savage behaviour can be seen in a more traditional setting in S Craig Zehler’s horror western Bone Tomahawk, in which Kurt Russell leads a gang out into unknown territory to rescue Patrick Wilson’s abducted wife. “Horror western” is a phrase we don’t hear often enough and the cast, including the great Richard Jenkins, is exceptional. It’s the Cult Gala movie, so get on it.
There’s a lot of strong buzz surrounding Craig William Macniell’s debut The Boy, an extension of his short film Henley, about a 9 year old child growing increasingly obsessed with death. We’ve also heard great things about Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation (starring Logan Marshall Green), in which the director of Girlfight delivers a very creepy tale of a dinner party with a hidden agenda. We caught Dogtooth director Yogos Lanthimos’ English language debut The Lobster at Cannes (here’s our review), and we can definitely recommend the unusual and wonderful love story, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz.
Also heavily buzzed in Jeremy Saulnier’s horror thriller Green Room, in which a band takes refuge from a group of vengeful neo Nazis led by Patrick Stewart. Saulnier’s Blue Ruin was one of the films of last year, and we can’t wait to see this already acclaimed follow-up. We’re also very much excited about Observance, which has been getting rave reviews on the festival circuit and those promising “don’t read about it before you see it” warnings. The festival describes it “David Cronenberg remaking Rear Window via Shane Carruth,” so we suggest that you should definitely see it.
Those seeking auteurs should proceed directly to Guy Maddin’s wonderfully strange and strangely wonderful The Forbidden Room, a series of kind-of linked, beautifully shot vignettes that starts with a lumberjack arriving on a submerged submarine and includes Udo Kier getting lobotomized in an attempt to stop staring at women’s rear ends and Matthieu Almaric having the best birthday ever.
Lucile Hadžihalilović returns with Evolution, her first film since her excellent debut Innocence. It’s the story of a young boy living on an island populated by women and young boys, who makes a startling discovery. No one will believe him, and his mysterious hospital appointment gets ever closer…We’re very excited about this one.
The great Takashi Miike delivers his berserk Yakuza Apocalypse, which looks far weirder than the simple “vampire gangsters” pitch suggests, and the always-fascinating Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Suicide Club, Cold Fish) presents Love And Peace, which promises punk rock and talking turtles. Sold. The latest film from Ringu’s Hideo Nakata is also making an appearance, and we’re hoping that Ghost Theatre could be a return to form.
Deadly outbreaks can be found in Bo Mikkelsen’s Danish chiller What We Become, which sees a small town under attack from a terrifying virus, and in Thierry Poiraud’s Don’t Grow Up, in which a group of teens come under attack from their parents, who have been driven mad by a mysterious epidemic. The perils of online activity can be found in stalker horror Ratter, which shoots its girl-in-peril from all her many cameras, which the killer is also using. If that sounds unsettling, The Corpse Of Anna Fritz finds the body of a famous actress in the hands of people who have some very bad ideas as to what to do with it, and promises to be an audience divider.
Stepping away from horror, we’re very excited about Jon Spira’s documentary Elstree 66, which looks at the lives of 10 actors who played small roles in Star Wars, from David Prowse and Jeremy Bulloch to an actor who was actually cut, promising to take a different look at the epic franchise.
Finally, there’s The Witch, which has to be the most-buzzed horror since It Follows. This 17th Century New England tale of terror has got incredible word of mouth and delivered one of the scariest trailers we’d seen in ages. We absolutely can’t wait to see it.
The BFI London Film Festival runs from 7-18 October. To find out more about these films and many, many more, head over to the BFI London Film Festival website and enjoy the festival!