The UHF of the film world.
Latest news

Manuel de Layet [Celluloid 09.08.14] Ireland (Republic of) horror thriller

The Canal is an Irish horror film about "a family moving into a freshly bought house and...," you obviously know the rest of the pitch. The country of origin has to be noted because the last two Irish fright flicks I was asked to review both ended with... Well... Basically me going postal. They were that bad, that boring, that flat-lined on the creativity level. With that in mind, let us check if something good can come out of this trope.

Out we go with the suspense: this one's not bad. But it didn't quite cut it into the "good" territory either. It feels far too formulaic, even taking into consideration the intended "self-aware" stance behind it. On the way to sentience it may be but for now, it's still not as clever as it wants to be.

Brace yourselves for my shortest review ever:

"It's the Horla meets The Machinist."

There. Done.

Mind you there are worse ways to define any work of Art, and I'm pretty sure The Canal will fare rather well commercially. Sadly for me, apart from the game of "what storyline will take precedence over the other" between Horla and The Machinist, the movie was essentially over after the first six minutes.

I'm not saying it has nothing of quality, quite the contrary, amongst the things standing out are the cinematography and lightning and, above all, the sound design is incredible and actually supports the whole movie better than anything else. Each and every noise and wood settling and what not of the house are there; giving it, as is usual in this kind of exploitation film, more personality than the rest of the protagonists. It just happens to be an unfortunate double edged sword since the whole fright factor relies so extensively on "sudden noise following distant noises" that it becomes a common recurrence and you're able to shut everything else out and actually count the time till the next jump scare. Like thunder following lightning at 343 meters/second.

On the ideas plane, my usual bread and butter when it comes to reviewing things, there's almost nil. It is a well executed exercise in style and form, but apart from a vague "watching movies will mess you up" theme, put in place by making the lead a film archivist, you won't leave the theatre with a full course of ideas to chew on the way home. Not even a doggy bag. Then again, it's not really something worth holding against the movie. It's horror exploitation done better than many others but I'm just getting somewhat tired of the whole homage to "old school horror." Each director and their mother puts that into the sales pitch to an extend and it is becoming such a trodden path nowadays that it's starting to look like a middle aged hooker in a mining town the morning after payday.

Oh and please, will someone please let Sadako rot someplace undisturbed?

You might also like

Leave a comment