Friday, October 31, 2008

The Dark Hours

Okay, I'm jumping from vintage 1970s horror last time to a 2005 psycho-thriller this time. One that I think works better if you don't know too much about it, so I'm not going to get into much detail.

The Dark Hours is a fairly low-budget suspenser set mostly in one location, a cabin in the woods. The acting is decent, and especially good from both Kate Greenhouse, the lead, as well as her antagonist played by Aidan Devine. There's a bit of gore but not a whole lot. Enough that I think one can classify it as horror.

It's also very much a "things are not what they seem" story, with a number of layers to reveal. One could say it's more of a character drama (it almost seems like a theatre production at times) than a straight-up horror. But it's an interesting one, and I don't think it ever succumbs to pretentiousness.

Despite the "low" half-million dollar budget, this movie has the dubious distinction of pulling in only $423 at the box office. Yeowtch! I don't think it deserved to be so ignored by the public. However, I could see how a hardcore horror fan wouldn't find it "horror" enough, and someone looking for an arty drama film might find the violence gratuitous or out of place. I happen to be a fan of horror hybrids however, so this didn't bother me.

Compared to modern Hollywood (or French) horror, this film will look very cheap. But if you don't need your hair blown back by special effects, gore and action, give a movie that relies primarily on writing and acting a chance.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Rituals is an unsettling, gritty, and very Canadian thriller. It combines elements from Deliverance, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Edge and Blair Witch Project. Oh - but it was released in 1977!

A group of middle-aged men hire a plane to go on their ritual camping trip in a remote northern location. Things start going badly when they realize they are the targets of a predator with strange... rituals.

With much better than expected performances and dialogue, this movie really surprised me. It builds tension in three classic ways - the men against the monster, nature and themselves. It handles each with a lot of attention to detail and there is excellent acting throughout. The reveals are slow and increasingly creepy. The landscapes are both bleak and beautiful.

I'll confess to only seeing this once on TV a few nights ago, so I'm writing from memory. And from the looks of things, I was lucky. From what I can find on Amazon, there is just a poor-quality DVD release available with negative reviews, all due to video quality.

Here's a trailer on YouTube. That horrible music isn't in the film, thankfully.

Canadian Horror Movies

This is a blog where I'm going to review and write about Canadian and semi-Canadian horror films.

I'm not sure I can properly classify myself as a true horror fan, and there's no way in hell I'm any kind of expert in the field. But I do enjoy watching horror films, and the subset that is Canadian doesn't seem to be the main focus of any other site out there right now. So I thought I'd start this one.