It's funny how film festival programming can instantly turn into a seal of approval. Take, for example, Red Dawn. The Dan Bradley-directed remake of this '80s staple has been sitting on a shelf due to money problems for over two years. Since it was filmed back in 2009 lead Chris Hemsworth has turned into a bonafide movie star, and so when the trailer finally hit a few weeks ago, it almost seemed like a footnote-- its release becoming a sort of inadvertent opening of a time capsule.
Now that Fantastic Fest has selected it as its closing night film, however, that changes perceptions a bit. This is a film festival that's defined by its eclectic and weird tastes, bringing together studio films and odd gems from all over the world. We're talking about a venue that has world premiered the likes of both Human Centipede 2 and Frankenweenie (this year's opening night film). Their recognition of Red Dawn means this remake might actually be more than just a curious time capsule. It might actually be, well, fantastic. It's also a vote of confidence on the studio's part that a September 27 world premiere means they're showing the film off over two months ahead of its release this Thanksgiving.
Of course, in typical Fantastic Fest fashion, they can't just choose a closing night film and call it a day. They've got to go out with a bang, which is also why Red Dawn is serving as the inspiration for the wild closing night party.
Following the World Premiere, Fantastic Fest will transform the Austin American Legion into a maximum-security prison for the ultimate Red Dawn shindig. Prisoners will experience mandatory enjoyment from delousing stations as well as free prison tattoos and head shaves. Executive Chef John Bullington will be doling out wild-game bulgogi, kimchi and piping-hot shots of deer blood while the uniformed detainees enjoy the musical stylings of festival favorite Future Folk.