Rupert Evans (Hellboy) showcases fine acting and pointed terror in filmmaker, Ivan Kavanagh’s latest film, ‘The Canal’. David (Evans) is a nice guy, a loving husband and father with a less than amazing job as a film archivist. As in many horror films, all it takes to fall down the rabbit hole is one seemingly mundane task. David is given a film from 1902 and goes to work pouring over the crime scene footage. He quickly notices the home in the film is his own. The footage shows the grisly aftermath of a demented misogynist who murders quite passionately. The material sticks with David and he tells his wife about the murders that took place in their current bedroom – never a good approach.
The footage impacts our protagonist and he soon finds himself experiencing odd phenomena. David soon becomes suspicious of his wife and one of her influential clients, and begins following them. What he finds is beyond his worse nightmare. Emotionally shifted and potentially compromised from the murder footage, David’s life quickly spirals with a barrage of perceived insanity. The viewer is left to decipher his mental state versus real events, and that’s half the attraction of this visceral horror-thriller.
Evans plays the bulk of his role slightly reserved, relying on subtlety instead of an overtly reactionary approach. We’re forced to traverse the dark, winding corridors of his mind as real evil slithers from his home’s foundation. Short on trite jump-out scares and typical cinema laziness, ‘The Canal’ travels a much more sinister path. Ultimately, the film is suffocating and sad, but I think that’s what Kavanagh was shooting for. If you enjoy your evil undiluted, ‘The Canal’ might be exactly what you need this Halloween.
Viewers that have problems with extremely disturbing imagery, should avoid this one like the plague.