Fantasia 2021: KING KNIGHT Is a New Kind of Black Comedy

King Knight is the latest from filmmaker Richard Bates Jr. and has the genre director trying his hand at comedy with this film that is currently screening at Fantasia. The film follows Thorn (Matthew Gray Gubler), a Wiccan who seemingly has it all — leader of a wonderful coven, an internet-based, bird-bath business, respect from his peers, and a loving partner (Angela Sarafyan). But when he’s invited to his high school reunion a dark secret is unleashed upon his perfect existence — Thorn was popular in high school and even played organized sports. Thorn is then expelled from his coven and must make a journey of the soul to make peace with his dark past, rekindle his relationship with his mother (Barbara Crampton) and make it to his class reunion.

Right off the bat, King Knight gets its hooks in you with a hilarious montage that works as both an introduction to Thorn and his coven, while also getting you acclimated to the film’s some what absurdist comedic style. It was right then and there, I knew this film was going to be a blast as we are introduced to the great ensemble here (Andy Milonakis, Nelson Franklin, Johnny Pemberton) that all have their own part to play in this story. Matthew Gray here just inhabits Thorn with an empathetic humanity, that while he is the crux of the joke, you’re still pulling for him when all is said and done. The film has him opposite Angela Sarafyan as his partner Willow, who brings a powerful calm to the role, while also giving the actor a chance to flex her comedic chops. There’s a raw vulnerability to every character Angela inhabits and here is no different, as the emotional center of the film she helps to guide her partner on his journey of self enlightenment.

King Knight is a hilariously heartwarming story of family and the black arts. Think What We Do in the Shadows meets Hail Satan! with its dry, meta take on modern internet Wiccans. The film’s take on this particular subculture and its many other sub/subcultures beneath it works because it comes from the right place, while also lambasting it. This is also thanks not only to director Richard Bates and a solid script, but the amazing cast that steer clear of the stereotypes and instead work to humanize this eccentric collection of individuals while also empowering them. King Knight is a new kind of black comedy that will most definitely find its audience once it hits streaming, so get ready to hear more about this one soon.

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