Fantastic Fest is here in 2020 and as with most festivals this year it has gone digital, but in a very interesting way. Here at Sickle and Efrit, we absolutely adore Alamo Draft house, so when we heard they teamed up with Fantastic Fest 2020, we were stoked! If you don’t know, the Alamo has a streaming service called Alamo On-Demand. Check it out if you haven't, but long story short, if you have an account the majority of the films are free as long as you RSVP. And you should do it NOW cuz the movies are “selling out” fast! We were so excited about this, in fact we decided to cover some of the fantastic fest movies and share our thoughts with the world! So without further adieu, enjoy Fantastic Fest happening between September 24th to October 1st and enjoy our review!
From the title of this film and the synopsis I totally thought it was going to be about a were-teddy bear. As awesome as the concept sounds, I wasn’t disappointed by the French film Teddy (written and directed by Ludovic Boukherma and Zoran Boukherma) when that didn't quite turn out to be the case. This movie follows the main character Teddy through a few life-changing days as a teenager. It had me thinking of teen wolf a lot but a far more serious and culturally relevant version. We meet Teddy, a meal-binging teenage drop out through his day, helping his family by working at his temp job and meeting with his girlfriend. At the end of the day he sees something outside of his house and tries to investigate, only to get bitten...then the fun begins. One of the best aspects of this movie was its ability to switch between genres. One moment it is a dark comedy poking fun at murder with very incompetent adults. Next, it's a body horror as the bite Teddy sustains begins to transform him into a hairy abomination. Then it flips into a deep coming-of-age film as Teddy deals with his relationships and the community around him that thinks he is a delinquent. It is very nice because if this movie were just one of these three things, it would be incredibly dull. The change of pace was not too abrupt either, which is generally an issue with some horror directors not being able to pull in other elements effectively. Teddy does not have these issues.
My only issue is that I wish there was a bit more horror in the movie. The scenes that are there are really good, but it almost feels like it is there purely to comment on puberty and the symbolism of change, yet the film ends in spectacularly bloody fashion. I guess one could say that was the hororr I was looking for, but it just felt like it was missing something. The scenes commenting on the corruption of youth by technology could have probably been removed (as that commentary is super heavy-handed and dull these days) and replaced it with a bit more body horror elements to really pull it together.
Outside of horror, I generally really like teenage angst stories and so when I get to see that along with some amazing supernatural themes, I always find it so entertaining. Teddy is a great film and well worth abiding the subtitles, which I generally stay away from. A lowly bus driving demon like me can only do so many things at once. But this movie made me regret not watching more foreign films, which I think is a good thing. If you can find it, check it out and make sure to tune in on Alamo On-Demand for more of the awesome stuff from Fantastic Fest 2020. Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 6/10
Horror Quality: 6/10
Film Quality: 7/10