is not just a horror film, it is also a PSA for water conservation. When
Sebastian Donner was a mortal serial killer, drowning was his M.O. Once he
moved into the supernatural realm, he now stalks his victims through water.
That leaky faucet is not just wasteful. It could be downright deadly in Chad
Archibald’s The Drownsman (trailer here), which screened
during the 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival.
always lived for her time with her three close girl friends, until her freak
near drowning accident. Since then, she has been plagued by visions of a shadowy
figure dispatching victims in his custom made aquariums. To make matters worse,
he seems to be equally aware of Madison. The fear has become so debilitating
Madison cannot even fulfill her maid of honor duties during her best friend
Hannah’s wedding. Exasperated by her behavior, the three women stage an
intervention, at which point Cathryn the psychic is supposed to make a show of
exorcising the spirit tormenting her. Of course, Cathryn quickly realizes
something very real and scary is afoot, but the other women do not want to hear
the bogus exorcism is always a super plan. Considering all this bother was
kicked up by Madison’s absence at Hannah’s wedding, you also might think her
husband would factor in the story somehow, but he is nowhere to be found. Still,
Drownsman is strangely effective in a
throwback kind of way—sort of like Wes Craven’s Shocker, but with water instead of electricity. There are some
genuinely scary scenes and Archibald nicely maintains an atmosphere of
escalating dread. However, the lack of a strong personality for the Drownsman
is a real drawback. He is no Freddy Kruger, or even a Horace Pinker (the Shocker stalker played by a pre-X-Files Mitch Pileggi).
Mylett is pretty good as the distraught and disturbed Madison, while Caroline
Korycki is memorably type-A as Hannah. However, the rest of the doomed women do
not make much of an impression. Likewise, Ry Barrett never gets the face time
to create any sort of hooky characteristics or catch phrases that so help in
establishing horror franchises.
often feels very late 1980s-early 1990s, which
is not a bad thing. It delivers enough for horror fans looking for a fix, but
it unlikely to breakout to wider audiences. Recommended for loyal local
audiences with modest expectations, The
Drownsman represented Fantasia’s continuing commitment to Canadian filmmakers
when it screened during the festival.
Labels: Canadian Cinema, Fantasia '14, Horror Movies