[Fantasia 2021] Capsule Reviews; THE RIGHTEOUS (2021) and ALIEN ON STAGE (2021)


This year’s Fantasia 2021 Film Festival has had a lot of diverse entries in various genres, here are two we particularly enjoyed

THE RIGHTEOUS (2021) (*** of 5) – Though it stars two of the leads from 2019’s Satanic dark comedy READY OR NOT, this black and white drama thriller from co-lead Mark O’Brien has more in common with NIGHT OF THE HUNTER than that comedy and fans of dark character driven think pieces will have a lot to digest here in this story if a priest dealing with his demons.

Ready or Not heavy Henry Czerny plays Frederic, a former priest who left the cloth at one point and feathered a daughter with his wife Ethel (Mimi Kukyk) who has since passed on and left him in a wellspring of doubt. He clings to his wife as an emotional life raft of sorts but that becomes bumpy as a result of a drifter, Aaron (played by O’Brien).

O’Brien’s character is seemingly injured and they take him in at Frederic’s urging. But there’s something under the veneer of this outsider that plays to Frederic’s existential balance and O’Brien’s energy and leading conversations pulls at the threads of Frederic’s misgivings and fears about his place in his life and household. The film is very tense but interesting and the desolate surroundings are only made that much more by the black and white cinematography. If you are a fan of dark character dramas, this is a film to seek out.


On the other side of the emotional spectrum, is the documentary ALIEN ON STAGE (*** of 5). Directed by Danielle Kummer and Lucy Harvey and executive produced by Adam F. Goldberg from the nostalgia driven hit comedy, THE GOLDBERGS; ALIEN ON STAGE summons the same nostalgia silliness of the scripted show in following a group of UK bus drivers who are staging a theatrical version of Ridley Scott’s 1979 science fiction horror.

The production is made all the more silly in its undertakings by the diverse personalities of those involved, from those who hate movies, to a lovable crew member who is proud of his DIY special effects craftsmanship. If you’re a fan of DIY haunt documentaries like HAUNTERS: ART OF THE SCARE, and the humor of THE OFFICE and PARKS AND RECREATION, then this documentary needs to be one you keep an eye out for. It’s a lot of fun and it has a ton of heart showing the dedication fans and non-fans can have to honoring a property much like last year’s Fantasia hit, HAIL TO THE DEADITES.