Released by: Scorpion Releasing
Released on: November 19, 2012.
Director: Robin Hardy
Cast: Moira Sinise, Christopher Cazenove, Timothy Bottoms
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Written and directed by Robin Hardy in 1986, The Fantasist might seem like a pretty drastic departure for the man best known for giving the world The Wickerman. And while this picture might not offer up masked cultist and pagan rites, it does have an interesting atmosphere and a few interesting twists.
The movie revolves around Patricia Teeling (Moira Harris) who leaves her family of farmers to head to Dublin where she’s to take a job as a teacher. Soon after she starts she meets a strange man named Robert Foxley (Kavanagh) and then later another strange man named Danny Sullivan (Bottoms) who just so happens to be married and live next door to her. The part of Dublin that Patricia resides in is, at this time, going through a bit of a crisis – see, there’s a serial killer at work and his modus operandi involves calling up his victims before he kills them in an attempt to indulge in some kinky phone fun. When both Robert and Danny make some rather unusual passes towards their new acquaintance, Patricia wonders if they might have something to do with the crimes.
Enter a fairly normal guy named Inspector McMyler (Cazenove). When Patricia inevitably gets a kinky phone call, she realizes that she’s made it onto the killer’s radar. Thankfully McMyler is around to help her out and as he’s been attempting to figure out the killer’s identity for some time now, he’s only too happy to do everything he can to keep her out of harm’s way.
The Fantasist is one of those movies where pretty much everyone in the film can and is a suspect. The most obvious choices are Foxley, who has a thing for balloons and a weird belly rubbing fetish that stems back to his mother’s treatment for gas pains, and Sullivan, who roams nightclubs posing as someone he is not in order to screw around on his wife. It doesn’t stop there though. Patricia is on the hunt for a man, as is her roommate, so the two of them are far from innocent. And is McMyler’s interest in photography professional? A hobby? Or something else entirely? Of course, it can’t be quite that simple or the movie would wind up dull and predictable and if it isn’t the most riveting thriller you’ll ever sit down to watch, it’s not dull and the ending is screwy enough that it doesn’t turn out to be all that predictable either.
The performances work well here. Everyone in the cast invests in their character enough quirk to make them stand out. Even our lead, Moira Harris, plays her part with some unusual distance which makes her come across as odd. Hardy’s direction doesn’t move things all that quickly nor is it all that inspired in the visual sense but it gets the job done well enough. The film is not without its problems, however. Attempts at comedy fall flat and seems sharply out of place and often times the movie just seems like it’s being weird for the sake of being weird, not to further the plot or add layer to the mystery. This is far from a perfect film but it’s interesting enough that those with an interest in Hardy’s work will want to give it a shot regardless. Go in with tempered expectations and enjoy it as the quirky horror picture that it is and don’t hope for a lost classic and you should come out reasonably pleased.
Scorpion’s anamorphic widescreen transfer is decent enough. The film’s muted color scheme (lots of drab tones used throughout the movie thanks to the locations used) is represented nicely and black levels are solid. There isn’t any serious print damage to contend with, the source material used is quite clean. Detail is fine and there are no issues with edge enhancement or obvious compression artifacts.
The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix on the disc is also good. The levels are nicely balanced and the dialogue is always easy to understand. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and the score sounds good. There are no alternate language options or subtitles provided.
Extras? Aside from the optional intro/outro from Katarina Leigh Waters which offers up some background information on the cast and crew and the movie itself, we get trailers for a few other Scorpion Releasing properties, menus and chapter stops.
The Final Word:
A decent enough mix that falls somewhere between your standard psychological thriller and a slasher film with a few interesting twists that help to set it apart from the more typical entries in either genre, The Fantasist gets a nice looking release from Scorpion Releasing.