After a fully stocked three-week run, the Fantasia International Film Festival concluded this past Wednesday evening. Now in its 17th year, the Montreal-based festival remains a genre lover’s paradise, a celebration of all things horror and sci-fi.
An early highlight was Antisocial, a zombie infection film about college students who develop murderous instincts after being diseased by a Facebook-like website. A film for paranoid Luddites as well as Mark Zuckerberg detractors, Cody Calahan’s satire is clearly indebted to the legacy of Romero, Carpenter, and Cronenberg and serves as a biting commentary on the often addictive nature of online interaction. Also of note is The Dead Experiment, from first-time filmmaker and biology and physics expert Anthony Dixon. The film, whose dialogue is rooted in heavy scientific vernacular, focuses on a deceased med student (Ryan Brownlee) temporarily brought back to life, his brief time on Earth ticking as he and a conflicted friend with Dr. Frankenstein-like tendencies work to extend his lifeline. This film clearly follows the “You can’t play God!” trajectory of the mad scientist-centered sci-fi/horror subgenre, and the initial idea serves as a faithful crossbreed between Pet Sematery and Primer (one of Dixon’s self-noted influences).