Whether behind the camera or in front, this year’s Fantasia Film Festival boasts many female stories. Horror has evolved over the years, not only creating a genre that’s nonlinear, but has allowed women in its narratives to become something other than the final girl. No one film in our list of most anticipated female-centered films is like the other, and no female character is similar to the next. Here’s just a taste of what can be expected throughout the festival’s 22-day run:

Knives and Skin, USA dir. Jennifer Reeder

Described as pertaining elements reminiscent of David Lynch, high school dramedies, and Italian giallo, Knives and Skin takes place in the aftermath of a girl’s vanishing. The film explores the days that follow as Carolyn Harper’s friends and family attempt to cope with her disappearance, and these coping mechanisms develop into something unusual. It's a neo-noir mystery full of teenage self-discovery, angst, and a poignant exploration of grief.

[Awarded the American Film Festival’s 2018 Prize of Progress in postproduction award.]


Ode to Nothing, Philippines dir. Dwein Ruedas Baltazar

Recalling art-horror hybrids like A Ghost Story, Ode to Nothing is a unique portrait of the innate desire for connection. The film follows Sonya, alienated from those around her and struggling to keep her funeral home open. But as corpses begin to show up at her doorstep, her connection to one in particular grows and she is sucked into this unclaimed body’s mystery.

[Awarded Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Director at the Qcinema International Film Festival 2018 and Best Cinematography and Best Production Design at The Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards 2019.]


Ready or Not, USA dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Most horror films are usually a big cat-and-mouse game with a character(s) playing hide and seek with an axe-wielding killer. Ready or Not takes that concept to the next level as a new bride must play the ultimate (and bloody) game of hide and seek in order to win over her new family. A wedding night full of shotguns, crossbows, and cleavers, it’s bound to be the most “stylish, but deadly” horror film in years.


Riot Girls, Canada dir. Jovanka Vuckovic

Vuckovic is no stranger to genre film, and her horror roots are ever present in her feature debut Riot Girls. The second tribute to girlhood on the list, alongside Knives and Skin, this film is about a band of teenage misfits in a ’90s post-apocalyptic world where adults were wiped out by a deadly plague. The world is now a battleground run by rival teenage gangs who must resort to violence to survive.


The Wretched, USA dir. Brett Pierce, Drew Pierce

The Witch comparisons are unavoidable as the Pierce Brothers present a new tale of disappearing children at the hands of witchcraft. When Ben goes to visit his dad for the summer, he couldn’t have predicted he would be staying next door to a centuries-old witch preying upon the local children. From Fright Night, Rear Window, and Invaders from Mars, The Wretched is a cauldron full of different influences mixed together for this new spin on witchcraft cinema.


Visit Fantasia’s website for the full festival lineup!

  • Sara Clements
    About the Author - Sara Clements

    Sara Clements has been a freelance film/TV writer since 2017. She's from Canada and holds a degree in journalism. She has written for both print and online and is an editor for Next Best Picture. Her love of horror started quite late as her first taste of it (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) resulted in her sleeping in her mother's room for a year and having to go see a therapist. She got over that trauma, thankfully, and now loves immersing herself in a genre she's missed out on.