Sunday, September 13, 2015

#1,854. The Canal (2014)

Directed By: Ivan Kavanagh

Starring: Rupert Evans, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Hannah Hoekstra

Tag line: "Fear will pull you under"

Trivia: Included among the crime scene photos used for a scene in this film is one of the 1969 murder of Sharon Tate

As a mystery, 2014’s The Canal doesn’t work. Odds are you will figure out what’s really going on by the midway point. What the movie is, though, is an effective ghost story, one certain to send a few shivers running up your spine.

Five years have passed since film archivist David Williams (Rupert Evans) and his beautiful wife Alice (Hannah Hoekstra) moved into their dream home. It was while cataloging some old police footage that David made a startling discovery: in 1902, his house was the scene of a grisly murder, committed by a man whose wife was cheating on him. 

This revelation hits David hard, especially since he believes Alice has also been unfaithful, and is romantically involved with her co-worker, Alex (Carl Shaaban). Tormented and needing to know the truth, David leaves their young son Billy (Calum Heath) in the care of his nanny (Kelly Byrne) and follows Alice. To his horror, his suspicions are confirmed, but things take a turn for the worse when Alice doesn’t return home that night...

Several days later, the authorities pull Alice’s lifeless body from a canal that runs through their neighborhood. Aside from dealing with his own grief and that of his young son, the now-widowed David is hounded by police detective McNamera (Steve Oram), who accuses him of murdering his wife. 

But David is convinced the ghost of the killer who once resided in his house is the guilty party, and with the help of his co-worker Claire (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) and an old-time movie camera, he intends to prove his theory. Did a ghost really murder Alice, or is David losing his mind?

Rupert Evans delivers a heartbreaking performance as the sensitive David, and because he is such a likeable guy, we feel his pain when he discovers his wife has been seeing another man. But David is also a strong-willed investigator, and believing the ghosts of the past are responsible for Alice’s death, he delves into the history of his house and its former occupants. 

Naturally, nobody believes him, so he tries to prove that the spirit of a century-old murderer does, in fact, exist, and it’s in these scenes that The Canal truly excels. With the help of a silent movie camera, David shoots the interior of his house, and the developed film reveals a ghostly presence lurking in the corner of nearly every room. Yet as chilling as these images are, the movie’s most effective scene has David shooting a roll of film by the side of the canal, resulting in a sequence that, though clearly inspired by The Ring, will creep the hell out of you.

It borrows heavily from other movies (aside from The Ring, there are also nods to The Shining), and anyone with a basic knowledge of horror movies (or thrillers in general) will see the ending coming from a mile away. Still, The Canal is an entertaining picture while it lasts, and even if the finale is a disappointment, the ride to get there can be pretty damn intense.

1 comment:

Evil Punk Demon said...

I LOVE this one.
\µ/—>X) ☠☠☠