Fantasia Film Festival 2014: Cybernatural (2014)

Fantasia Film Festival is really something.  The world premiere of Cybernatural included it being hosted by the director Leo Gabriadze and co-producer Adam Sidman.  Much to my surprise, he also managed to match the whole cyber theme and get the first (at least they said so) live Skype Q&A session going with the writer Nelson Greaves, producer Timur Bekmambetov and three members of the cast. As late as this was, it was quite the experience to get everyone there and to hear their thoughts.


Live Skype Q&A: Hosted by director Leo Gabriadze and executive producer Adam Sidman in person & Writer Nelson Greaves & Producer Timur Bekmambetov


Courtney Halverson & Shelley Hennig

I had to leave before the Q&A finished but I think I managed to stick around for a good part of it. My suggestion even if you skip this review because you want to see this, DON’T WATCH THE TRAILER! I’m in no way saying it was bad but if you want to be more impacted, just trust me on this one. But then I believe that I enjoy horror movies more because I always skip the trailer.

CybernaturalDirector: Leo Gabriadze

Cast: Shelley Hennig, Renee Olstead, Jacob Wysocki, William Peltz, Courtney Halverson, Moses Jacob Storm

Six teens; Blaire (Shelley Hennig), Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm), Jess (Renee Olstead), Adam (William Peltz), Val (Courtney Halverson) and Ken (Jacob Wysocki) are in a Skype online meeting  on the one year anniversary of a fellow classmate, Laura Burns death after an embarrassing video was posted up by an unknown person.  When Blaire mysteriously receives a message from the dead Laura Barns, and a mysterious person joins their chat with the profile of Laura, they think that someone is playing a prank on them.  Except, things get out of hand when they realize that there is something a lot bigger and more dangerous than even they could control.  Lies and secrets are revealed that pitch them against each other and they realize that whoever is on the other side of is really is making this into a deadly game.


Cybernatural is a completely new take to what a new age found footage horror flick should be like. Its about webcams, online chats, chat rooms, messaging, Facebook, Youtube and all those goodies we hang around on. Thats why this movie is powerful.  Its about teens who is totally oblivious to the dangers of cyberbullying and the impact.  Its also about how danger can lurk behind the other side of the computer.  Our electronic devices can all be hacked. With the right skills, we can turn something completely innocent into something dangerous.  Its the new unknown.  Thats what always is scary, right? Diving into the unknown possiblities.  Who is on the other side? What is on the other side? Where could they be? Outside your door? Stalking you from their car? Inside your bathroom? In a world where everything is so connected but yet not really that connected, its hard to grasp the dangers and how everyone is very ignorant to all that because its become an everyday aspect of our lives.



A few days ago, I reviewed a tech thriller from Fantasia Festival called Open Windows (review HERE).  Gearing from the same sort of technology focused found footage, this one becomes more personal as we are now solely on one of the six teens laptop screens.  We are connected with Blaire’s screen.  At the start of the movie, we know nothing about them.  When we first get the messages from the girl that we know died, its scary and creepy.  There is no other way to describe it. At the same time, what makes this all feel real is that we look at a similar screen when we are at home, Blair makes mistakes when she types; she multitasks as she chats with her friends.  She demonstrates to us the accessibility of information but how it can also slowly grow out of control as the situation intensifies.  As I write this up, my heart is starting to pound just thinking of everything that happened in this movie. With that said, Cybernatural is a gripping, intense and unique cinema experience.



I personally think the writer did a fantastic job with putting this script together.  There is a tight knit of story flowing for each of the character’s and it does get  bit emotional as the secrets start flowing out.  The question essentially is who posted up that video? And then I can’t go through this without saying that casting essentially not so popular young actors and actresses are the key to making this successful.  They had amazing chemistry with each other and you could feel the bond and tension between each of the characters even though it was just through the way they talked.

Honestly, I don’t know what else to say except that Cybernatural is a true horrific experience.  Maybe not as horrific as creepy and dangerous. I rarely can be sure about saying a horror movie is good because I’m not ever sure about it but for once, Cybernatural is a piece that is worth your time.  Whether you want to give it chance for the new age found footage experience or you trust me and want to embark on this online session with these teens and learn about their secrets.  Its really one that you have to discover all on your own.  If I said any more, then I’d be spoiling your fun.  We wouldn’t want that, right? 😉

Are you a fan of found footage? What do you think about this new age found footage concept? 

By the way, if you don’t believe how good it is, it was so good that they added a screening so fellow Montrealers who wants to see this.  July 29th is the added screening.  Go buy those tickets because I’m pretty sure they’ll sell out! 🙂

Fantasia Film Festival & My Line-up!

Fantasia Film Festival starts this week in Montreal. It runs from July 17th to August 6th.

Last year, I lost track of when it started and ended up catching 2 movies.  Sad and pathetic, yeah, I know.  In my defense, I was super sick and was on antibiotics.

This year, I amended my old ways and tracked the event and waited for the schedule to go up and then chose my movies and was ready to pounce at those tickets the first moment they went online.

My plan is to see 10 movies and as this goes up, I’m still hoping that one of them will open up because I don’t quite understand what “restricted availability” is but I have a few backups, I that I can choose from. I’ll tell you which one in a little bit.

No rambling on today.  We’re going straight to business.  This is my line up in order of when I’ll see them.


Open Windows is one I’m not completely sure about.  Sasha Grey isn’t all that convincing to me but then I’m guessing she’ll strip so there’s a appeal to people who like that but my reason is that Elijah Wood has been on a crazy streak of horror movies and they’ve all been received well.  I haven’t seen Maniac or Grand Piano yet but the trailers for those looked good as does this one.  I’ll try to squeeze in Maniac before I go, just to get an idea of Elijah Wood in horror movies, but no guarantees 😉

2) JULY 19: I ORIGINS/USA/2014

I Origins is probably one of the most anticipated movies in 2014 for me.  Brit Marling has been doing amazing movies with Another Earth and The East. She is unstoppable and this one is loaded with cast that I love.  This one was squeezed on a not very good day with another one that I’ll talk about in the end that I had to miss because of my friend’s wedding.  This one cuts into hers just a little but I’ll only be 20 minutes late max.  It should be okay, right? I just couldn’t give it up…what else can I say?


Somehow Youtube didn’t have a trailer for this one but they have a trailer if you follow the link the festival’s page 🙂

Cybernatural is one of the last decisions that I made when compiling this list.  I gave my boyfriend a few choices since he’s going to see some of the weekend movies with me (especially horror).  This one was the final choice.  It looks like it has a pretty intriguing setup and seems to touch on various social issues in the process.


In English, the title is called Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart.

Last year, I saw a few animated movies from France and the style just charmed me so much that when I saw this one and the trailer, I knew I had to see it.  I like the whole dark Gothic style and the original idea of having a boy with a cuckoo clock as his heart.  I’m really excited for this one.

5) JULY 27: HAL/JAPAN/2013

Back to back days of animation.  How can I go to Fantasia and not see something from Japan? I almost wanted to choose a Korean one but it didn’t really work for me other than the cute characters and this one seems to have a more intriguing storyline whether its love or maybe something more. Plus, its only 60 minutes and the animation looks really nice.


I already had Into the Storm in my anticipated movies for 2014 but seeing as this showed up in Fantasia Film Festival, I’m guessing it might not make it to the theatre near me.  Plus, I get advance viewing from everyone else in Montreal whose not seeing this on July 28th? Who needs perks anyways? I just want to see Richard Armitage in a leading role and I love disaster movies.  This one could hit the over the top area but sometimes, it works well 🙂 I’m staying optimistic for this one!


I’m usually not running towards Quebec productions and no, that should say Canada because as much as Quebec wants to believe its unique and not part of Canada, it is.  Just so no one bans me from the movie for saying that, I’m going to shut up about that part.  This movie is weirdly in English (take that, Quebec :P) and its shot in my friend’s condo building.  I recognized the hallways.  Plus, it has a creepy vibe to it.  Its the only horror that I will be going to see by myself, unless some friend decides to join me.


Last year, I wanted to check out Antisocial, which looked mad gory but it had some messed up time where I was always at work.  I know a few of you of reviewed it.   The Drownsman is done by the same team, I believe I read that somewhere.  Confession time: I can’t make it through the trailer? My boyfriend watched it for me and gave it a thumbs up for scary and potentially awesome and he laughed because he doesn’t know how I’ll get through the movie if I can’t get through the trailer.  I don’t know either but I’ll figure it out when I’m sitting in the theatre…


Thats right! August 2nd is a double feature for us.  We have back to back movies with a little time slot in the middle to eat dinner (hopefully). I wasn’t so sure about Time Lapse until I saw the trailer and then I was sold.  Time Lapse looks intense and pretty intense.  The question with these sci-fi time travel-esque movies is whether it makes sense.  I’m confident that it will but I’m also curious to see how this pans out 🙂

Thats what I’ve bought so far!

The movie I believe slipped out of my grasp is also the one I expected to also: the special screening of Guardians of the Galaxy.  I don’t really mind too much.  I’ll still end up seeing it opening weekend, I’m pretty sure.  One of my friends seem pretty hyped up about it.

BUT, that means to complete my 10 movie run, I need to choose one more.

I have to miss Suburban Gothic (and the chance to see Matthew Gray Gubler) because of my friend’s wedding but here’s the trailer:

This just looks so good.  But I had to make a choice and I have prior commitments.  Lets see other options…

There is one that made me laugh called 3D Naked Ambition, a Hong Kong movie at 11:55pm.  Red light flashing on it possibly being in the porn department since its like at midnight.  As I was trying to find the trailer, I actually found the full movie on Youtube so nope, especially since I won’t have public transport to go home either.

Honeymoon also looks pretty good, but I’m not too fond of watching too many horrors on my own.

As interesting as this is, its also a pass.

Now, I could go on because there’s a few action movies that looked decent as well but I came to the final conclusion that it doesn’t feel right to give up the chance to watch a Hong Kong movie on the big screen.  They have one, From Vegas to Macau which I actually bought when I went to Hong Kong earlier and I will review it during this festival time (if I find time for it).

The final choice goes to That Demon Within.  Its somewhat of a horror action flick, if that even exists.

Nick Cheung has been churning out hit after hit and he’s just been out of control.  Daniel Wu is also one of my favorite actors.  The more I watch this trailer, the more I’m convinced this is going to be epic.  On top of that, its a crime thriller and I just can’t resist them.

Thats it for Fantasia Film Festival for now! I’ll be back with reviews in a little bit 🙂 I’ll try to get them out as soon as possible but with the movies mostly at night, I might have a few days delay depending on my schedule.  Things will stay as normal as possible here.  For sure, the focus will be geared towards movie reviews but I still remember that I have the Hong Kong trip that I have a few posts to put up also at the very least.

What movies peak your interest? Have you been to the Fantasia Film Festival? If you are going, what are you seeing?