October 16, 2014

Theatrical Review: The Canal (2014)

It's not very often that a movie comes along that is genuinely scary like The Canal is.

That's not a knock on all of the other great genre movies that we see, because plenty of them give us the willies too, but rather its more of a testament to just how well executed this movie was.

We were lucky enough to have it playing at a Theater relatively close to us (which hardly ever happens with the new, good VOD titles like this), and so we made the trip to frigging Dearborn to see it.

Movies like The Canal are worth the extra drive.
David and Alice are a happily married couple that are buying their dream home; she's all kinds of pregnant, and he's just happy that he made her that way. As they take a tour of their future house, David notices someone creeping around, and he goes to investigate, but whoever it was disappeared into the sewer out back, so no harm no foul.

Five years later, the marriage isn't so happy anymore; they may have a beautiful son together, but David is pretty sure that Alice is cheating on him with some guy from work. He follows her one night, and sure enough, he catches them engaged in gland-to-gland combat. Instead of killing them both with a hammer, David runs off. On the way home, he stop by a public restroom to vomit and have some hallucinations, and maybe get a handy from a stranger... Because he's clearly lost his damn mind.

When Alice doesn't come home the next day, David calls the Police to report her missing. From the get-go, the Police pretty much think that he killed her, because husbands always kill their wives when they discover them to be cheating whores. David knows he didn't kill her though, and as more and more odd and creepy things begin to happen to he and his son, he becomes convinced that something supernatural is going on. Of course, this leads him to start investigating things on his own...

I'll say no more about the plot here, as doing so would surely spoil its twists and turns, but suffice it to say that the more David investigates the strange goings-on in his house, the more he loses his mind... and of course the more he discovers about what's going on, the more that everyone around him ends up in danger. Everybody's screwed!

The Canal may be the most frightening movie that we've seen all year. It's thick with atmosphere, and it oozes dread to the point where it almost got a little depressing. The tension is palpable throughout this one, and while the main mystery of the movie is "Did David kill his wife, or did ghosts do it?" (to put it very lightly), the answer to that question really doesn't matter, because it's terrifying either way.

The movie uses a lot of red, green, and blue tint throughout, most of which makes for some striking imagery. Writer/Director Ivan Kavanagh has crafted a movie with a very effective visual style here, which only serves makes the creeping unease of the plot feel all the more dire.

The ending of this movie twists and turns until it comes to a scene that truly put us on our asses; so effective was this scene that I can still feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. Then, once we finally understand what's been going on, the movie does it to us again with another hair-raising scene. Then the epilogue hits, which may have been the most horrifying scene of them all.

Honestly, the last scene in the movie was just about as horrifying as a last scene in a movie can get. We really felt the need to emphasize that point twice.

Stories where everyone thinks that the main character is crazy, and they refuse to believe anything they say despite there being proof to back it up, tend to drive us nuts. That wasn't too big of an issue in The Canal, and even if it was, that's the point of the movie, but it irks us none the less.

When someone has pictures and video of some creepy shit, you have to at least believe them a little bit!

Why would you play a video (via projector) over the part of the wall that has a big gaping hole in it? You can't see what you're trying to play that way!

There are a few scenes of murder throughout this one, and it's full of all kinds of bloody and grisly imagery to boot. Once scene towards the end was extra, extra disturbing, and it might be the creepiest visual moment in the film.

We get some brief nudity in one sex scene, most of which involves a bunch of naked man ass.

Marriage sucks. Also,Cops usually know what in the hell they're talking about, so heed their warnings.

If you're looking for a movie that will unsettle you, and maybe cause you to have a nightmare or two, then The Canal should do you just fine. It's one of the best movies that we've seen in 2014, and it should be on everyone's viewing list during this Halloween Season.

If you're lucky enough to have it playing at a Theater near you, definitely see it on a big screen with an audience. If not, then give it a rent on VOD. Either way, just see it.


The Canal is available now on VOD, and is also in Limited Theatrical release.


The poor women in this movie just can't catch a break.


  1. This is one of three movies I really, really want to see along with 'The Babadook' and 'Housebound.' Your review whetted my appetite even more.

  2. Finally got to see it. It's on you tube, pretty good print with Vietnamese subtitles. It is as scary as you said it was; brilliantly acted and directed. Not everything was explained but enough was so I didn't feel cheated. Wonderful job by Rupert Evans. His is the kind of character I genuinely loathe halfway through the movie but he kept my sympathy until the end. A couple of super scary ghosts, (monsters?) made me glad the cat was over on the bed and the double shot of bourbon was by my right hand. The scene near the end where that thing comes out of the hole in the wall reminded my of the video scene in the Japanese version of 'The Ring,' - ugh and wow!

    1. Um, Really? Spoilers much? I'm surprised they approved this post...

  3. Sorry, I just couldn't get into this. I really don't get scared by these kind of movies, probably because I don't believe in ghosts, I guess.
    I am assuming that you guys must have watched this one in the theater, which is probably why it had so much more atmosphere than if it was seen at home.
    I'm actually surprised that you didn't get mad at the movie for all the leaps of logic.
    The guy doesn't interrupt him wife being plowed by some douchebag? Come on, that right there made me want to turn it off.
    You have cops searching for a body after only a few days, and without any evidence of any crime. The guy, who now is the sole guardian of his kid, goes and tries to find out about a psycho who may have killed his wife?? I would have given him a handshake anyway.
    Hell I'm not even halfway through, but I felt compelled to stop the movie and write this post, which none of mine ever seem to make it up somehow.