Oct 19, 2015
Day 19: THE CANAL (2014)
Well, well, what have we here? Another sneaky little gem with a bad cover, another film I checked out only because of SHOCKtober–for everything she taketh away from my soul, she surely giveth! Or something.
While reviewing a newly-discovered reel at work, film archivist David (Rupert Evans) learns that the home he shares with his wife and young son was the scene of a brutal murder in the early 20th century. While reviewing lingering glances and surreptitious touches at a work party, film archivist David learns that his wife may be having an affair. It's a bad week for film archivist David!
But it only gets worse when he follows his wife on an evening when she is "working late." It turns out that David's suspicions were correct–the only thing she's working on is extramarital fornication. David's wife ends up missing, and his memories of that night are hazy: did he see someone push her into the canal? Though foul play cannot be proven, the police consider David to be Suspect #1. David has bigger problems, though, as he is convinced that he and his son are being stalked by some kind of evil. Is the house haunted? Is David simply flipping out with grief and/or guilt? Is history repeating itself? Will anyone believe his claims that it's totally a ghost?
Oh yes, The Canal certainly covers well-trodden horror ground, and there is a loonnnng stretch in the middle where you may find yourself asking whether or not this film has much new to offer. That's not to say it isn't fairly compelling–there's a mystery afoot, after all, and I love a mystery the way Jessica Fletcher loves...well, mysteries. But to a seasoned genre vet, it feels a little like the wheels are just spinning, that you know how things are likely to go and for fuck's sake let's just get there already. So then The Canal is like, "Okay fine! Let's get there!" and it gets there and man, is it worth the wait. Again, the nods to other horror movies are rather blatant ("You're telling me!" --Sadako) but the finale is done so well that you probably won't mind. It's creepy, haunting, and a bit jaw-dropping on occasion, enough that you'll be like "Damn, The Canal, I didn't think you had it in you!" and The Canal with give you a small nod and a knowing smirk. Such a sneaky little gem!