Film archivist David (Rupert Evans) has been having a rough time lately, as he suspects that his wife Alice (Hannah Hoekstra) has been cheating on him with Alex (Carl Shaaban), one of her work clients. This stress is compounded when David's work partner Claire (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) gives him a reel of to-be-archived footage that shows that his house was the setting for a brutal murder in 1902. Becoming progressively more unsettled and unhinged, David begins to believe that a spectral presence is in his house and ends up following his wife to a nearby canal, where he discovers that she is indeed having an affair with Alex. When Alice goes missing shortly afterwards, David contacts the police- only to become the prime suspect in her disappearance. As the police grow more convinced that David has murdered his wife, he struggles to find proof of his growing suspicion that something otherworldly was instead responsible.Written by
Captivating with intimate struggle, The Canal offers more than grisly scenes or bloody gore. It is imposing and disturbing on deeper psychological level, much credit to Rupert Evans who performs splendidly to that effect. In contrast to majority of horror flicks that have grainy filter, The Canal looks very quaint. The overlook of the vista or the color palette are brightly lit, but it effectively delivers a harrowing atmosphere.
David (Rupert Evans) is an archivist of retro movies who lives with his son and perhaps not so loving wife. He receives a movie that depicts his house was the site of a murder scene one century ago. David is a rather timid man, he has doubts and not particularly dominant. So, when he becomes more troubled by the prospect of phantom presence, he deteriorates mentally. Rupert Evans captures the character brilliantly, both verbally and with body language. It's very easy to see David as an average man, filled with hidden anger and nagging anguish.
The movie presents the terror with exquisite taste, it doesn't need cheap trick. It might show the scenes as David sees it or not show anything out of ordinary at all, the anticipation works better than the usual apparition shocks. As David's occupation is related to cinema, there are many sequences with antique cameras or slides. These old cryptic monochrome relic and modern screen mashes together exceptionally well, occasionally producing jittery motion which just feels inhuman.
With a pristine cinematography, the film is engagingly fun, although it may be odd to say this for a horror film. The angle and blitz fast editing are fresh, it focuses at the right thing at the right moment, it's simply hard to not be immersed. Most of the time it depicts a beautiful landscape of European suburb, yet it has underlying bleakness to it which is persuasively disturbing.
There have not been many films that create horror in such personal level, let with alone solid cinematography. The Canal is nightmarish delightful.
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