It’s the end of November. Soon it will be time to celebrate Christmas and the end of another year. But not just yet. This week, things are going to get a little spooky in Toronto with the 6th Annual Blood In The Snow Canadian Film Festival. Celebrating horror movies from across Canada, this year’s fest takes over the Royal Cinema from November 23rd to 26th for 4 days of scary movies. To get you ready for the event, we’ve got a handful of reviews for some of this year’s offerings. Things get spooky this Friday with the screening of Buckout Road.
Directed by Matthew Currie Holmes, Buckout Road is the story of the most haunted road in New York State. No one ever believed the urban legends….until now. After a trio of college students do a project about Buckout Road for their modern mythology class, they soon find out that the myths might actually be true. The more they uncover about this mysterious road, the more their lives are at risk. Witches burning at the stake, albino killers from the backwoods, a lady that walks the night seeking vengeance. The result is a fun and bloody mash up tribute to 80s slasher films.
It’s easy to see that this film is a love letter to the movies Currie Holmes grew up on. Nostalgia seeps through the kills like the blood spilled on screen. Most of the horrific scenes are shown as dream sequences that bleed into reality, each with their own style. The witch burning scenes give off the sterile tone of a period piece. The slasher scenes lean into the 70s horror motif, complete with film grain, cigarette burns and a funky grindhouse soundtrack. This brings a lot of personality to a film that could have taken itself too seriously. These added details almost make the dream sequences feel like mini movies all to themselves. Amazingly, all of it is brought together seamlessly in a satisfying third act full of fun and frightening revelations.
The tone of this film is a tricky one. It sits in that classic horror realm that needs the right amount of camp to pull off. Thankfully Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Evan Ross, the stars of the film, are able to walk the line between scary and funny quite well, giving genuine reactions. Comic relief characters Erik and Derek (played by Kyle Mac and Jim Watson) are used to proper effect. Other films might have overused them to a fault. Here, they do very little but still somehow manage to steal the scenes they’re in.
The supporting cast also plays a major part in selling the credibility of Buckout Road. Danny Glover gives a fantastic performance in the first half of this film, making me wish there was a prequel story involving his mild mannered psychologist who lost his faith. Colm Feore, to no one’s surprise, also has a strong showing as a local priest that guides Evan Ross’ Aaron down the right path.
The most surprising performance in the film comes from Henry Czerny as Detective Harris. Harris is a infuriating character as he does not seem to know how to do his job most of the time. His emotions shift dramatically from the first to second act. But as we reach the climax of the film, what seemed to be a series random choices turn into a carefully crafted execution. It’s fun to watch. Currie Holmes plays to his actors strengths and brings us a well balanced horror with just the right amount of emotion and kills.
If you want some thrills and chills that harken back to horror films of yesteryear but with a modern twist, I highly recommend checking out Buckout Road. See it this Friday, November 24th, at the Royal Cinema at 9:30PM. Tickets are available HERE.
Keep checking back for more Blood In The Snow 2017 previews. And be sure to check out my review of the opening night film, Red Spring.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!