31 Days of Halloween: Review of The Canal

The Canal is one of those movies you’ll occasionally see on lists with titles like “10 Great Horror Movies You’ve Never Heard Of” or “Best Horror On Netflix,” and I must say, it lives up to the billing. The Canal is not without its flaws, but the last 15 minutes or so of the movie are worth the price of admission.

The Canal employs my favorite plot device–the unreliable narrator. David catches his wife cheating on him, and he’s never quite right after that. When she turns up dead, suspicion naturally falls on him. David sets out to find the real killer and gradually comes to believe that a ghost may be responsible for the murder, as well as a number of others that have occurred in his very house.

The Good: This movie is creepy and unsettling, in a way that is somewhat difficult to describe. From the start, the director infuses each scene with a sense that something just isn’t right. It’s that feeling you get when you find yourself constantly looking over your shoulder, for instance. That’s what this movie has going for it. The house is creepy. The canal is creepy. The public bathroom–super creepy. So when weird things happen, they are more frightening than they might be otherwise.

The Bad: This is going to sound strange, but the sound guy wasn’t great. There are times where you can’t hear the actors at all and where the sound effects are washed out. This has the added bonus of forcing you to turn up the volume considerably, heightening the effectiveness of the jump scares. But more often than not, it’s just annoying. More substantively, there’s a lot going on in this movie and not enough time or depth to really flesh it all out. Is it demons? A serial killing ghost? A cult of child sacrificing devil worshipers? Who knows? But there’s really no need to have any of that mess involved in the movie at all. Frankly, it just distracts from whats going on and doesn’t add to the plot.

The Takeaway: Here’s the thing, with about fifteen minutes left in the movie, I was thinking three stars. But those last fifteen minutes involved enough crazy to bump it up to a four star film for me. I’m not going to say more, but you’ll understand after you watch. All and all, a good one for your late October watch list.

4 Stars

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