Written by: Josh MacDonald
Directed by: Evan Kelly
Starring: Stephen Chambers, David Patrick Flemming, and Matthew Amyotte
Reviewed by: Brett G.
There was once a time when Canadian tax dollars were used to fund some really wicked, kick-ass movies, and if stuff like Hobo With a Shotgun and The Corridor are any indication, we might be on the verge of a Great White North renaissance. Writer Josh MacDonald shopped around his spec script for The Corridor for several years, and itís finally come to fruition. The result is a nice little update on the well-worn cabin the woods movie, as the eventual assault comes from within the protagonists' own minds.
A group of five guys decide to reunite in a reclusive, snow-bound cabin. They havenít all been together since the death of Tylerís (Stephen Chambers) mother; he didnít handle the trauma very well, as he ended up attacking the other four. This landed him in an institution, which prevented him from attending the funeral; now that heís out, everyoneís gathering for her wake in the hopes of also so moving on with their lives. Instead, they stumble upon a strange, mind-warping energy field that causes all of their inner frustrations to violently bubble to the surface.
This is yet another venture into the woods, and itís an appropriately moody and isolated jaunt. The wintry setting adds to dreariness; the snowiness and the eventual onset of paranoia amongst the group will of course recall The Thing, and itís sort of like a light take on Carpenterís film. Whereas that one is intensely apocalyptic, The Corridor is a more intimate affair. As this is definitely a character-first horror flick, we spend a lot of time with these guys before things go downhill. Theyíre a colorful bunch that fall into some familiar trappings--one is the big, burly one (Matthew Amyotte) who still dreams of his high school football glory days. Another one (Glen Matthews) is newly married and is having trouble conceiving a child with his wife, while another (James Gilbert, who is a dead ringer for Bradley Cooper) is stuck working in a crappy bar. The main two are Tyler and Chris (David Patrick Fleming), former best friends whose relationship understandably became fray when the former stabbed the latter.
You can feel a sort of melancholy wistfulness among this group; none of them are quite where they wish they were in life. Fraught with their own insecurities, they try to bury their issues in booze and pranks. Due to the fine performances, none of this stuff feels too slow; theyíre a likable group thatís appropriately built up before theyíre torn down. All of this will likely recall Stephen Kingís Dreamcatcher, and that comparison can be drawn out even further once they stumble upon the titular corridor. Thereís often something vaguely supernatural and sci-fi that can be found in King, and his bizarre concepts typically tie into his charactersí psyche in some way.
The same can be said here; considering that this about four guys who decide to shack up with an ex-loony, you probably think youíve got this one pegged down. You donít, as The Corridor kind of flips the script and does so early; I was sure this would end up being a typical psychological mind-bender that would blur the lines between delusion and reality. However, this one goes a different route, as everyone begins to lose it. And when they do, this thing goes from ďzero-to-fuckedĒ in a hurry. These types of flicks often degenerate into the cast yelling at each other, but this one does it in a more unsettling way, as they pick at each other both psychologically and physically. Remember how the pink slime in Ghosbusters II made Egon, Ray, and Winston lose their shit on each other? It's kind of like that, only there's strangulations, impalements, and scalpings. Much of this violence is realized in low-key, casual fashion that's eerie and disturbing rather than frantic and sensational.
However, itís that brainy undercurrent thatís interesting, particularly as it relates to the corridor itself. While the enigmatic energy field isnít completely explained (from what I gather, it seems to be alien in origin because you can feel the influence of pod movies at some points), it doesnít matter too much. Whatís clear is that itís there to force these guys to reconcile their pasts with their present, and it mostly works. The ending is questionable in its ambiguity, but I think you can mostly draw out the point of it all. Ultimately, itís a film about forgiveness and atonement, and I like that the film never spirals past the characters--itís their stakes that are important, so this never becomes a case where the genre takes over to become a huge splatter-fest. Instead, itís atmospheric, emotional, and intense--a fine example of neo-Maple Leaf Macabre. Buy it!
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