A weird one, this. Only three IMDb reviews and no information to be found on it anywhere else, very much the sort of film I would expect to be running into on the interweb rather than a market stall, yet sure enough it got a release on both video and DVD in the UK (though seemingly to little avail as the lack of protesters complaining that it wasn't worth the pound they spent on it indicates). It would even seem to warrant its own obscurity, being a little tricky to pin down but ultimately makes for an easy, occasionally effective watch. In some ways it seems to be a sort of modern day parable, being that the story is of Henry, an abused and betrayed down and out young man granted supernatural power to smite his enemies by an agent of the Devil. But then Henry's bad times seem to start with is stepfather, an abusive man of god. Also the climax is put in motion by a psychic of unmentioned affiliations, which doesn't really seem to me the wisest choice for a message film. And the devilish emissary doesn't have much to do, nor are many trappings of devilishness present (the odd pentagram but not much more). For much of the time its a revenge film with Henry killing or at least maiming a goodly number of people, and here is where the oddness is most apparent. For a while Henry seems to operate in a vacum, getting away with a good deal of bad behaviour often either in public or at least out in the open without anybody either trying to put a stop to him or calling the police, indeed the police only get in on the action when they feel a personal slight. Perhaps the film is trying to say something about the uncaring nature of modern day city life, about social division and law enforcement? Furthering the oddness is the structure of the film which tends to eschew the connective tissue of character development or plot, giving only scraps to hold things together with some tattered semblance of momentum (on at least one occasion this results to the film leaping through time in a head spinning but unmentioned manner). The violence has its kooky moments too, nearly always quite mean and sometimes funny but generally lacking in much gore (though some blood is usually spilt). So then, a film that doesn't quite pull off any of the things it seems to be attempting, it should be a dog but somehow it holds the attention. Partly its Henry, as played by the unremarkable John Tench he starts out sympathetic but shakes it soon enough, gradually building from a sort of bland, niggling unlikability to a point where he actually comes off kinda hateful. Though underused, Peter Read has a good low key menace as the Drifter, Henry's recruiter. The rest of the cast fill their parts well enough but make little of an impression, outside of the principals hardly any are even named. They bring a sort of authenticity with their rough hewn turns though, making for the right sort of grimy, depressing atmosphere. The atmosphere is aided greatly by the gritty cinematography (by the clearly hard working Gilles Corbeil who also co wrote and co produced the film), it gives the Toronto locations a certain mean edge and I've always been a fan of this sort of approach to city life. The swift pace is a bonus too, something of interest is always either happening or just around the corner and the shenanigans have just enough variety to stay interesting. Perhaps most importantly to me, its simply a bit odd a lot of the time. It feels off, like the makers were winging it, making stuff up on the fly and not bothering to fill in the gaps, something that I can appreciate as I happen to be a tremendous fan of cinematic strangeness. I wouldn't recommend this one to most, but for me it holds up pretty well and may be of interest to other curiosity seekers. 6/10.
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