The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

ManFish (2022): If anything, this movie does one better than The Shape of Water and Creature from the Black Lagoon by proving that love between aquatic creatures and humans doesn’t have to be strictly undersea male and air breathing female. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a heterosexual romance.

When Terry (Dean Kilbey) finds a half-man, half-fish creature (Matty Noble), he thinks that it will make him rich. But then he falls in love, even if he can’t communicate with it. Can he protect the creature from his girlfriend Tracy (Emma Stannard) and his brother? Will he figure out that his girl and brother are sleeping together? Or will he end up ostracized and watching the new love of his life in a sideshow or worst sliced up and experimented on?

Shot on Canvey Island — when Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green moved after leaving the band — this is a hardscrabble British take on interspecies love and it’s quite amazing that it doesn’t make fun of its subject and instead finds humor in other places. If anything, the love story between man and fish is the most innocent and special part of this film.

Director and writer Marc Coleman has done a great job with this movie that could have quite easily been just a silly parody of its influences. Instead, it shows that love can exist anywhere, with anyone, even in a place that seems grim, gray and hopeless.

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