Day 25 of my #31DaysOfHorror seems to add to the growing conspiracy that Canadian horror movies are actively working to spite me by being terrible. Yeesh. Anyways, if you have a favourite Canadian horror flick, feel free to leave it in the comments! Help me break this streak. Anyways, lets get to Crowsnest.
In late summer of 2011, five young friends on a road trip went missing after being attacked by nomadic cannibals in a huge RV. Video was recorded by the victims & recovered by police as evidence in their still-unsolved murders.
Alright, I really do try and check out Canadian horror movies, and I’m always hoping that they’re going to be great. The sad part is, so often they just turn out like this one. Movies like Crowsnest are a huge part of the reason that people don’t like found footage movies anymore. I realize that it’s the cheapest way to make a movie, but if you’re going to do it, then it better be top-notch writing, or at least offer something new and exciting to a hyper saturated sub genre. This one offers neither. Directed by cinematographer Brenton Spencer (Stargate: Atlantis) and written by John Sheppard (McGyver, yeah that one), this movie feels pretty slapped together and hastily written. It starts off with elements that indicate that it is a paranormal movie, but then ends up being about nomadic cannibals. The two elements don’t really make any sense, and there is no effort to reconcile this in the story. It seems like in the beginning it was going to be about ghosts, and then changed in the last minute to be about cannibals and it feels really strange and awkward, and finding out that they are cannibals makes a lot of things from before not make any sense. Like how a massive camper makes a fast turn on a skinny road.
The actors are pretty non-offensive, but they are all essentially typical horror cliches. Christie Burke’s (Twilight: Breaking Dawn) character feels like she is in an entirely different movie. She spouts of religious stuff, and acts ominous for the entire first half of the movie, and seems to be building up to some kind of possession conduit or something to that effect, but again it’s all for nothing. Victor Zinck Jr. (Grave Encounters 2) is the only other recognizable face in the movie, and he suffers from being a non-entity like the other actors in the movie. The characters are flat, and any development seems so forced, and unnatural, simply things that were in the script rather than natural progression.
It’s possible that there was an attempt to subvert expectations by starting things off with a hint of the paranormal, but it’s not really a twist, it’s two movies shoved together and one makes the other nonsense. There’s also a bizarre scene in the place called Crowsnest, where the characters go into a store to buy beer, completely off camera, and then come back to describe a frightening encounter with the owner of the store. Again, this scene happens entirely off camera, and could be this way to make the footage feel more realistic, because what are the odds that all the scary moments would be captured on film, I guess. The thing is, this is a horror movie, and no one thinks that it’s real at this point, so focus on making the movie scary and not on how “real” the found footage feels. Snuff films don’t get distribution.
All in all, this is a nonsensical, hollow found footage movie, and there are plenty of great alternatives for people who are looking for this kind of movie. I would, frankly, recommend Grave Encounters over this one, and I really don’t like that movie or its sequel. This one gets a hard pass from me. Skip it.