The Canal (2014)

THE_CANAL_A4Sorry for the delay in getting a new reivew out, but I’m in school and that sorta takes most of my attention. So, this time a little something Irish for you guys, I really hope the trend of strong and small horror keeps on moving in this way. With this and movies like The Babadook and Things We Do In The Shadows, things are starting to look pretty good. Enough about that though, let’s talk about The Canal.

Film archivist David has been having a rough time lately, as he suspects that his wife Alice has been cheating on him. This stress is compounded when David’s work partner gives him a reel of to-be-archived footage that shows that his house was the setting for a brutal murder in 1902.

I cut out a good chunk of the IMDB synopsis, but that should give a pretty good sense of the basic story. I have to say I really enjoy this, I came across it in a post someone had made who compared it to The Babadook, in that they liked this movie better. While I won’t say that I agree with that poster, I will say that I’m really glad that I came across this movie and can certainly see some parallels. However, this is a review of this particular film, and not a compare and contrast so lets move on.


One of the issues I had with this was the films that David archives throughout the film, they didn’t really make sense in their production and I couldn’t really understand why they would exist beyond furthering the story. They were creepy, and interesting to look at, but in their context they didn’t really make sense. I totally understand why they’re there, and they are effective in their role in the film, there was just a part of me that wasn’t ready to buy them. There were also a few plot issues, and weak performances. Particularly, the actress playing Alice didn’t really offer much. She may not be in the movie long, but I didn’t enjoy her performance. Everyone else was alright, though David had his moments of being a bit too broody.

David’s character does become a bit irritating in his descent into madness, and his stubborn nature does become really frustrating. Though, I have a feeling that’s exactly what the director wanted to get out of him. In that case, mission accomplished. Overall, the movie doesn’t feel especially cohesive and does have some strange pacing throughout, but the moments that are scary are pretty effective and it doesn’t rely on jump scares (thank christ) in order to build the tension, and the tone of the movie.


One of the places I have to give some credit is the bleak ending. I know that I complain a lot that movies will play up being bleak or edgy right up until the end of the film and then pull back immediately. There’s nothing I hate more than a forced happy ending, and this one successfully stays away from that. Again though, I think there were enough issues in pacing that the movie felt rushed and too slow at the same time.

Overall, this is an effective little movie, and I do give it a recommend. It might have even made my best of 2014 list if I had come across it sooner, but I didn’t. Worth the time, and has some scenes that are pretty frightening. Enjoy it.

RATING: ****


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