The storyline follows one that we have seen before in horror films. Young upstart family moves into their dream home, only to have their lives changed from the haunting history that lives within the walls. With that being said, please do not think you will sit down and watch a “same-old-same-old” type horror movie. The Canal uses a lot of things that have been done before, but does it in a way that feels fresh and frightening.
One thing I am always looking for when watching a smaller budget, independent horror film, is which type of scare they will throw at the viewer. They seem to go one of two ways. One, pushing the envelope of taste and gore or two, completely staying away from the gore and allow the “monster”and scare to be created within the viewers mind. The latter of the two, in my humble opinion, is the only way to enjoy a scary movie. The Canal, however, does a very good job of integrating the two.
Very early within the movie there is a scene which led me to believe we were in store for a very gory and bloody movie. As the movie wore on it seemed as though it was going to be a one-time thing and the scares would stay within the mind, helped along with some great eerie moments very reminiscent of The Ring. But hold on to your hats, because before The Canal is over, it will hit you straight up the head with some gore and blood that you were not expecting, specifically the birthing scene! Although I am not a big fan of the gore and pushing the envelope of taste, The Canal did a good job of walking right up to the edge, before falling off.
Another aspect of The Canal I really enjoyed was the feeling that I was watching a short, as opposed to a full length film. I enjoy shorts, how they are done with simple camera angles, and plots that expose quickly and to the point. The Canal having the feeling of a short should come to no surprise as director Ivan Kavanagh has quite the resume’ of directing shorts and somehow he was able to bring the feeling of a short film, into this full length film.
One last tip of my hat to this movie is the very end. So many movies today leave me wanting moreout of the ending. I am left with a feeling of, “ damn, they could have done so much more with that”, or “yup, saw that ending coming”! NOT WITH THE CANAL! After watching the final scene I wish I had a mirror to see myself, because I guarantee I had the biggest “stunned face” look. It was an ending that made me feel uncomfortable, but in a good way. And ending that left me saying, “ YES, THAT’S THE KIND OF ENDING I WANT TO SEE”! The Canal left me sitting in my seat and thinking through what I had just witnessed as the credits rolled. It left me the way I want every horror film I watch, to leave me!
Although you will see aspects of other horror films show up in The Canal, it is done in a way that will make you feel you are experiencing them for the first time. The Canal is an enjoyable ride into the macabre and the paranormal. A great mixture of a classic ghost story and a mystery “who done it”.
1 not so scary
5 you might need to bring clean underwear
The Canal gets a… 3.5
1 little to any gore
5 think Hostel, lots of Hostel
The Canal gets a… 3
Director: Ivan Kavanagh
Writer: Ivan Kavanagh
Stars: Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Rupert Evans, Steve Oram
Currently on VOD!