The Canal (2014)

canal

“A depressed and stressed film archivist finds his sanity crumbling after he is given an old 16mm film reel with footage from a horrific murder that occurred in the early 1900’s.” — IMDb

David (Rupert Evans, somewhat bland) is a film archivist who seems to be having some doubts about his marriage to Alice (Hannah Hoekstra) when he starts to suspect her having an affair with a co-worker. He also stumbles upon some footage at work of a murder that took place not only in his neighborhood, but in the house they share, and he comes to find that the gory deed was done by a husband driven insane by his wife’s infidelity. When he confirms his own wife’s tryst (in graphic detail) he starts to really go off the deep end… but is it demonic possession or just straight up insanity?

This movie does a good job at blurring that line between a more classic horror movie full of jump scares and a psychological thriller where you witness someone’s descent into madness. You really aren’t sure which is which for a vast majority of the movie, which really adds some interesting complexity to it. It has some of the same appeals of a possession/haunting movie — the idea that there’s some malevolent force at work is terrifying. But the thought that maybe it’s his own mind at work is almost more scary.

It’s a fairly low budget film, but there were some truly scary moments done that didn’t rely much on special effects — one in particular while David is Skyping with his son, Billy (Calum Heath), when a shadowy figure rose from the corner.

I thought it got a little repetitive at times, and the attempted romance from David’s co-worker, Claire (the adorable Antonia Campbell-Hughes), felt forced and awkward. The ending was HORRIFIC, to say the least (those images aren’t leaving my brain anytime soon), but I didn’t think it really matched the rest of the movie, both in style and in graphic goriness. It was like it had this slow burn for 90% and then it ramped up to 100mph REAL QUICK. But the literal last scene I thought had a good amount of creepiness.

Overall I think it was a good blend of genres, and definitely a good amount of psychological creepiness.

Rating: 6/10 | Director: Ivan Kavanagh | Music: Ceiri Torjussen | Starring: Rupert Evans, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Hannah Hoekstra, Steve Oram, Calum Heath, Anneke Blok

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