Since its inaugural edition back in 1996, Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival has been pushing boundaries by showcasing the best in new international genre cinema. Now in its 23rd incarnation, the festival’s reputation with both audiences and the film industry continues to grow. With a commitment to diversity and screening challenging ground-breaking cinema from Canada and around the world, there’s a dizzying array of talent on offer.

Kicking off on 11th July and taking place in venues across the city over the rest of the month, this year’s line-up promises to be the best yet. With a huge wealth of movies on offer, it can be daunting to choose. Here are a few we recommend checking-out.

Harpoon

Rivalries, dark secrets, and sexual tension emerge when three best friends find themselves stranded on a yacht in the middle of the ocean under suspicious circumstances.

House of Hummingbird

Set against the backdrop of a rapidly expanding Seoul in 1994, a lonely 14-year-old Eun-hee moves through life like a hummingbird searching for a taste of sweetness wherever she may find it. Deprived of attention from her family, she roams the neighbourhood with her best friend, attempts romantic relationships with both girls and boys alike and is sent to the hospital with an unclear diagnosis. When Young-ji, a new teacher arrives, she becomes the first adult Eun-hee feels really understands her.

1BR

After leaving behind a painful past to follow her dreams, Sarah scores the perfect Hollywood apartment. But something is not right. Unable to sleep, tormented by strange noises and threatening notes, her new life quickly starts to unravel. By the time she learns the horrifying truth, it’s too late. Caught in a waking nightmare, Sarah must find the strength to hold onto her crumbling sanity…or be trapped forever in an existential hell.

Ready or Not

Ready or Not follows a young bride (Samara Weaving) as she joins her new husband’s (Mark O’Brien) rich, eccentric family (Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell) in a time-honoured tradition that turns into a lethal game with everyone fighting for their survival.

Sons of Denmark

One year after a major bomb attack in Copenhagen radicalisation around the country has intensified and ethnic tensions are running high. The next parliamentary election is near, and the extremely nationalist political leader Martin Nordahl is set for a landslide victory. 19-year old Zakaria gets involved in a radical organisation, where he forms a bond with Ali. The two men cannot agree with the current state of the country, which is turning on its own citizens because of their migration background, and decide to act. However, they are both just tools in the hands of people with power. As the men try to make their mark, their brotherhood will be tested and their actions will have grave consequences on their lives.

Blood on Her Name

A woman’s panicked decision to cover up an accidental killing spirals out of control when her conscience demands she return the dead man’s body to his family.

Bliss

A brilliant painter facing the worst creative block of her life turns to anything she can to complete her masterpiece, spiralling into a hallucinatory hellscape of drugs, sex, and murder in the sleazy underbelly of Los Angeles.

The Lodge

The Lodge follows twos siblings who are snowed in with Grace, the younger woman that their separated father plans to marry. Just as the kids begin to warm to their stepmother-to-be, events intercede and threaten to dig up psychological demons from Grace’s childhood as a member of a religious cult.

Darlin’

Found at a Catholic hospital filthy and ferocious, feral teenager Darlin’ is whisked off to a care home run by The Bishop and his obedient nuns where she is to be tamed into a “good girl.” However, Darlin’ holds a dark secret and she is not travelling alone. The Woman, equally fierce and feral, who raised her, is ever present and is determined to come for her no matter who tries to step in her way.

The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea

In a small eel-farming town in the west of Greece, two women live solitary lives while dreaming of getting away. Elisabeth is a once-ambitious policewoman forced to relocate from Athens ten years ago and now living a joyless, hung-over life; Rita is the quiet, mysterious sister of a lounge singer in the local disco. When a sudden death upsets the town and turns the local community upside-down, the two women who had been ignoring each other’s existence begin drifting towards each other. As the secrets hidden in the swamps begin to surface, they will have a chance to become each other’s saviours.

Freaks

Kept locked inside the house by her father, 7-year-old Chloe lives in fear and fascination of the outside world, where Abnormals create a constant threat – or so she believes. When a mysterious stranger offers her a glimpse of what’s really happening outside, Chloe soon finds that while the truth isn’t so simple, the danger is very real.

To find out more about the festival, see the full program and book tickets, visit the Fantasia Festival website.