Holy motors, was it a great year at Fantastic Fest, America's finest celebration of genre cinema and binge drinking. Fantastic Fest 2012 boasted a typically stellar lineup of weird and wonderful movies from around the world, and there were a lot of popular titles, as evidenced by the results of our critics poll and its five-way tie for fifth place. What an incredible variety in those five films too, with documentary, comedy, music, and horror all represented. This year's festival had something for everyone.
That's not to say that there wasn't some consensus as well. Our poll had a clear runaway winner -- picked by more than half of the 25 critics surveyed -- and a very strong second place finish by a film that only played once (and not even officially) but clearly dazzled the crowd with its ambition and scope. The Audience Award winner at the festival was a hit with critics as well; as was an acclaimed movie from the Toronto Film Festival -- which may have placed even higher if so many critics at Fantastic Fest hadn't already seen it there.
My own list of top films surprised me. Traditionally, my favorite movies at Fantastic Fest are the discoveries; the oddballs I've never heard of before and never would have seen anywhere else. This year, I was generally more satisfied by and more impressed with the bigger titles. There's hope for Hollywood yet, apparently.
Here's the top five from our Fantastic Fest critics poll, along with a full list of contributing critics. You can find each of their individual ballots on the next page.
Criticwire's Fantastic Fest Critics Poll
1. "Holy Motors" (14 votes)
2. "Cloud Atlas" (10 votes)
3. "I Declare War" (7 votes)
4. "Looper" (6 votes)
5. 5-way tie -- "The American Scream," "The Conspiracy," "The History of Future Folk," "Sightseers," and "Sinister" -- (4 votes each)
John Ary, Ain't It Cool News
Jeff Bayer, The Scorecard Review
Tim Buel, First Showing
Alan Cerny, Ain't It Cool News
Erik Davis, Movies.com
Devin Faraci, Badass Digest
Russ Fischer, /Film
John Gholson, Movies.com
William Goss, The Playlist
Bill Graham, The Film Stage
Jacob Hall, Movies.com
Peter Hall, Movies.com
Britt Hayes, ScreenCrush
Jordan Hoffman, ScreenCrush
Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects
Jette Kernion, Slackerwood
Jeremy Kirk, First Showing
Tyler Mager, CollegeMovieReview.com
Peter Martin, Twitch
Brad McHargue, Dread Central
Corey Mitchell, Bloody Disgusting
Luke Mullen, Film School Rejects
Rob Paddock, Slackerwood
Brian Salisbury, Film School Rejects
Matt Singer, Criticwire
Eric D. Snider, Film.com
FOR THE CRITICS' FULL BALLOTS, CLICK TO PAGE 2.