Fantasia 2020: Everyone’s a critic in feminist horror ‘The Columnist’

Columnist and author Femke is flooded with anonymous nasty messages and death threats on social media. One day she has enough and decides to take revenge.

When praise is what fills your void in a world where trolls thrive, The Columnist is perfect genre therapy. Fantasia’s own pool of critics and filmmakers alike will go mad for this film for innumerable reasons. Femke is exhausted by vile comments on social media. She obsessed over them. When she decides to do something about it, her newfound violent tendencies unlock her writer’s block. But, it only lasts one article at a time. Under pressure to write a book, this becomes a real problem for Femke. It’s the performance from Katja Herbers that makes this already brilliant script from Daan Windhorst even cooler. Its dark humor could not be more satisfying. Herbers’ delivery is so casual and effortless. Truly award-worthy stuff. I think my favorite thing might be what she decides to take as a trophy. It’s the most appropriate choice that may as well be phallic. Perfection. The Columnist is the definition of feminist horror.

I have to point out a key piece to the script. The tweets and comments are heavily right-wing conspiratorial. They read like they’ve been created by a bot or as if they’re right out of the Qanon playbook; crazy and completely horrible. As a female writer, this film was far more enjoyable than perhaps my male colleagues might have found it. Is this secretly my fantasy? I’ll never tell. Words hurt. Criticism of any kind can be brutal. (And I also get the irony of that statement considering what I write.) But, the best unsolicited advice I can offer after watching The Columnist: Maybe don’t track down ppl hiding behind a small screen and murder them? Although it does make for one compelling film. “Write what you know.” So to speak.


GENRE: Horror


Find out more about Fantasia 2020 and purchase tickets for The Columnist

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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