I've never programmed a film festival, but it doesn't take a fest insider to know that getting the right opening night film is one of the most crucial aspects of programming. It sets the tone of what to expect from the festival, of what their slate is all about this time around. So what does it say about Fantastic Fest that Matt Reeve's Let Me In will be enjoying its US premiere as the opening night film of the festival this September?
Well, to me it says that they're not fooling around. A year ago ever film geek was gunning for Let Me In. After all, how dare anyone remake the brilliant Let The Right One In? Everyone dreaded the idea of Americanizing it. But then as we learned more about the project, as Reeves started doing interviews, and as the images and trailers began to hit, the tide turned. People began to realize that, hey, maybe this is actually going to be a pretty badass movie.
So not only is Fantastic Fest nabbing Let Me In as its opening night film an endorsement as to how good the film turned out, but it's a sign that they love to champion the underdog. They're passionate about the films that people aren't initially expecting to be good, that may seem like longshots on paper. Obviously that's what FF is about every year, but putting Let Me In front and center also shows that you can probably expect this year's slate to be a bit more ominous and a bit edgier than year's past. And as a fan of dark, weird and wonderful films from all over the world, that has me more excited than ever to be in Austin, TX from September 23rd to the 30th. And if your tastes are anything like mine, you should do your best to try to be here as well.