What to watch on Netflix: Review of “The Canal”
Written and directed by: Ivan Kavanagh
I am self-admittedly a terrible Netflix user. I have a queue a mile long (roughly 300 titles), and I spend far more time surfing through all of the “Recently added” and “New releases” categories than I do actually watching movies. So, today, I was determined to pick one of the many films I have been back-burnering, watch it, and review it. I chose the 2014 horror film “The Canal” from writer/director Ivan Kavanagh. I went in pretty much blind, other than the fact that I knew it had something to do with ghosts. I suggest you do the same, if you decide to watch it because it really is a fun little thriller.
David (Evans) is a film archivist who has a wonderful life. He is happily married to his beautiful wife Alice (Hoekstra), they have a painfully cute son named Billy (Heath), and they have just bought a new (well… really old, but new to them) house to call home. Things start unraveling though when David’s colleague Claire (Campbell-Hughes) hands him crime scene footage from the early 1900s. David quickly realizes that the brutal murder, that is the subject of the footage, was committed in his new home.
After his startling discovery, David quickly begins to unravel as he begin seeing a shadowy figure, in the house, that he believes is the spirit of the man who murdered his wife there. Things go from bad to much worse, when in the same night David discovers that Alice is having an affair. Before he has time to process this, Alice disappears and the police believe David is behind it. He knows that it is the shadowy ghost that is responsible though, and will stop at nothing to prove it.
So… my take on the movie? I liked it a lot. I love a good slow burn, thriller that doesn’t just hit you right in the face from the beginning. Kavanagh does an excellent job at forcing the audience to be patient and really let themselves get into the hopelessness of David’s situation, and the eerie house and it’s dark and violent past. The progression of Rupert Evans’ David is incredible to watch as he goes from grieving to disturbed to down right insane. The film really ends up being less about the haunting and more about David’s descent into madness, and it works perfectly.
The paranoia gives the viewer a very unnerving feeling that continues through to the film’s grim ending. “The Canal” is a great piece of indie horror that I am surprised didn’t get more hype alongside other genre favorites like “The Babadook” and “It Follows”. I highly recommend it and will be keeping it on my overcrowded Netflix queue to give it another viewing later.