Tag Archives: Canuck

You’ll never walk alone

in a violent nature 2024


3 Stars  2024/18/94m

“Nature is unforgiving.”

Director/Writer: Chris Nash / Cast: Ry Barrett, Andrea Pavlovic, Cameron Love, Reece Presley, Liam Leone, Charlotte Creaghan, Lea Rose Sebastianis, Sam Roulston, Alexander Oliver, Lauren-Marie Taylor.

Body Count: 8

Moderate spoilers. Back in the 80s, we had a second hand Commodore Vic 20 computer, which had a few single-screen games you loaded up via cassette tapes. One of them was a POV maze where you could pretty much go forward, left, or right, hear 16bit footstep sounds AND NOTHING MORE. It was relentlessly boring and seemingly unsolvable. That unrelenting view down line-drawn corridors with zero features made Pong look like The Last of Us.

Technology was pretty simple in the 80s, and while I think that game was coma-invitingly boring, we probably played the crap out of it. Forty years later, it seems creatives are doing all they can to revert to that analogue, lo-fi, no-frills approach to media where a film like, say, The Prowler seemed to be the best thing going, even though there’s about 73 minutes of people walking around silently in the dark. The FX work was the payoff.

in a violent nature 2024

In recent years, slasher movies have taken to branching beyond their admittedly rather overdone modal conventions to incorporate hi-jinks like time travel, body swaps, sucked-into-the-film chaos, time loops, behind-the-scenes documentary satire, forced first-person-final-girl perspective, found footage, and what-happens-next positing. What is left?

In a Violent Nature has kept away from parody or satire to strip away multiple layers of polish to present a film almost entirely shot as a companion to the killer (rather than from his POV, as per the aforementioned as-final-girl entry, You Are Not Alone).

Somewhere in the lush woodland of Canada, near an old logging community, thoughtless teen visitors remove a gold locket hanging from a tree beside a collapsed fire tower. After they make off with it, the ground stirs and a hulking man hauls himself out. We see him only from behind for the most part as he gets his bearings and begins making his way through the forest towards the sound of voices.

in a violent nature 2024

After ridding the world of an annoying MAGA-type trapper, our backwoods behemoth creeps up on a firepit of youths and listens as they share his story – duh – a slow kid named Johnny who, sixty years before, was blamed for an accident and then himself died in a revenge prank gone wrong. Buried but not at rest, every now and then he rises from the earth to kill folks. Jason found drawing up legal docs.

Because we’re cruising along like a Remora to a cruising Great White, we don’t learn a whole lot about the septet of visitors, only that Ehren wanders off with his cassette Walkman on to smoke a joint by a tree and gets his head gruesomely cut off. Johnny then drags the body away (which is interesting to see, as you do wonder how Jason has the time and motivation to string his vics up in trees, in closets, etc.) and procures a creepy old firefighters mask and some gnarly chains and spikes.

in a violent nature 2024

Johnny systematically eliminates the other guests, some gorily, others not, until the depleting numbers finally notice he’s there (their previous obliviousness to the sound of thumping feet on the undergrowth being annoying), and flee to the ranger’s station, where they’re told they need to rebury him and hang the locket back where it was found. Of course, things don’t go to plan, and someone ends up in a log splitting machine seen used in Cut. At this juncture, I made a note that it’s amazing these long buried wackos seem always to know how to operate heavy duty machinery.

Here, In a Violent Nature kinda splits like oil and water, and we shift away from Johnny and follow the remaining survivor as she reaches the road and is picked up by a motorist played by Lauren-Marie Taylor from Friday the 13th Part 2 and Girls Nite Out. With almost 20 minutes remaining, the killer doesn’t appear again, and instead we get a long monologue about a bear attack, casting doubt on the final girl’s recollection of events.

in a violent nature

There are some unsettling moments in the film, and while some reviewers bemoaned the last section, it’s here, when the truck pulls over and the paranoid survivor fixedly stares into the woods with the expectation the masked wacko will spring out from behind a tree any second, that inject some ‘reality’ to it. Slasher cinema has taught us that it won’t be over, but Chris Nash plays a neat trick on us by threatening the return of the loon and then refusing to play ball.

Elsewhere, long uninterrupted takes work to build an undercurrent of tension and prove economical for the runtime, which has a lot of following Johnny through the trees. In truth, the film could probably be a 45-minute short without this content, but being the whole what-hasn’t-already-been-done raison d’etre, it’s something of a necessary evil, even if I was growing restless when some sections ground on excruciatingly for several minutes. The lack of any soundtrack also gives things a strange banal reality. In some ways it highlights small cracks in performances and action timing, in others it gives the gruesome denouements a sort of anti-sensationalistic grittiness.

A very brave undertaking with plenty of interesting ventures beyond the box, though not one I feel has much rewatch appeal.

The Other Side of Christmas

it's a wonderful knife 2023


3.5 Stars  2023/88m

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets to kill.”

Director: Tyler MacIntyre / Writer: Michael Kennedy / Cast: Jane Widdop, Joel McHale, Justin Long, Jess McLeod, Katharine Isabelle, Aiden Howard, Erin Boyes, Sean Depner, Hana Huggins, William B. Davis.

Body Count: 14

Laughter Lines: “Dad gets me a lesbian tracksuit, and you get a goddamn truck!?

What will they think to convert to a slasher movie next? So close on Totally Killer‘s coattails that they could have children, It’s a Wonderful Knife, quite evidently, opts for the wish-I-was-never-born alternate universe composition. But how does it stack up against its time travel, body swap, and time loop brethren?

In the town of Angel Falls, smarmy mayor Henry Waters drags beleaguered realtor David Carruthers (the unrelenting eye candy that is Joel McHale) away from his family on Christmas Eve to try to convince an ageing local homeowner to sell his listed home so a mall can be built on the site. When the old man refuses, a maniac wearing a white angel mask shows up at his door later and slashes his throat, then goes after his teen granddaughter and her friends at a party. David’s children, gay footballer Jimmy, and keen photographer Winnie, are also there and manage not only to survive, but kill the Angel, who, to the surprise of nobody, is Mayor Waters.

it's a wonderful knife 2023

A year later, Winnie is still traumatised by what happened, while her family tries to move on. Sassy aunt Gale (Gale Prescott!!!) and her wife are over for Christmas, but everything just seems to be going wrong for Winnie: Mayor Waters’ brother Buck blames her for killing him, she catches her boyfriend having it away with her best friend, and she hasn’t gotten into NYU.

it's a wonderful knife 2023

Winnie shouts into the night that she wishes she’d never been born and the swirling Aurora Borealis above makes it so. She’s instantly attacked by the Angel Killer, who should be dead, and there’s suddenly a different sheriff who has no idea who she is. Winnie runs home and her parents don’t know her. Worse still, Jimmy was one of the Angel’s victims the previous year – because Winnie wasn’t there to save the day.

it's a wonderful knife 2023

Teaming up with outcast Bernie (known as Weirdo by most), she learns that the Angel has claimed almost 30 victims, the deaths of whom impacted family businesses in town, to the benefit of the not-dead-in-this-reality Mayor Waters. Once she manages to convince Bernie of her timeline-hopping, it’s a race to kill the Angel all over again before the Northern Lights fade away and won’t allow her to return home. Of course, things clearly won’t go to plan.

it's a wonderful knife 2023

It’s a Wonderful Knife goes at a pedal-to-the-metal speed through its plot, ultimately ending too soon, feeling like there was a lot more they could’ve done with the situational aspects of Winnie’s adventure. Some characters feel underdeveloped due to this, with little more to them than a name and sexuality (there’s a lot of LGBT representation here). Still, the Angel racks up a good bodycount, cutting his way through pretty much everyone.

While not quite up there with Freaky (from the same writer) or Totally Killer, there’s still a lot to like and the chases and slashings are on point. Katharine Isabelle is fun as the loose-lipped aunt Gale, and Justin Long leans into sleazy senator central as Waters, appearing to have a ball doing so. Sequel please.

it's a wonderful knife 2023

Blurbs-of-interest: Justin Long was in the first two Jeepers Creepers films; William B. Davis was also in Matinee; Katharine Isabelle was in Freddy vs JasonBones, and See No Evil 2; Tyler MacIntyre also directed Tragedy Girls.

You can’t choose your family. But you can kill them.

slasher flesh & blood 2021


1.5 Stars  2021/367m

Director: Adam MacDonald / Created by: Aaron Martin / Cast: Rachael Crawford, Sabrina Grdevich, Chris Jacot, Paula Brancati, Alex Ozerov, AJ Simmons, Sydney Meyer, Breton Lalama, Corteon Moore, Jeananne Goossen, Patrice Goodman, Nataliya Rodina, David Cronenberg.

Body Count: 15

Laughter Lines: “A series of games – a competition – each of you will be knocked out one by one.”

Saw meets Succession for the fourth series of the Canadian anthology universe where the only people who exist are hateful narcissists. Seriously, Aaron Martin, would it hurt to make a few of them not assholes? I thought residents of Canada had form for being too nice.

Patriarch of the Galloway family, David Cronenberg, decides to opt out of life – literally. He’s committing assisted suicide, but not before instructing his greedy family that only one of them can have his fortune, and to win it they just have to play a few games. Last one standing wins gazillions. So they gather at his island mansion for the weekend where they argue, deceive, and are hunted down by a top-hat-and-plague-masked killer who has some creative demises in store.

Add to this, kidnapped grandson Vincent reappears after 25 years, igniting more suspicion. His uneasy twin, Theo, has the hots for the housekeeper’s daughter, Liv, who is timely informed that she’s actually part of the bloodline and thus eligible for the prize. Closet gay Seamus and his happy-hippie wife Christy are struggling with their weird adopted daughter, Aphra. New trophy wife of the head of the clan, Grace, just wants the best for their son, Jayden. Non-binary O’Keeffe doesn’t really want to be there.

slasher flesh & blood 2021

And then there’s Florence. To conjure up an image of Florence, think of the campest, most pantomime witch character you can, squawky shrill voice right out of The Wizard of Oz included. Amplify that a hundred or so times, and you might have her. A role so beyond the realms of credibility, it’s no wonder Sabrina Grdevich goes to town, chewing up the scenery with her demented antics, kind of like an evil Moira Rose, just falling shy of threatening: “I’ll get you, and your little dog too!”

So it goes, the loser of each test is eliminated by the agile killer, and sometimes one another in a Bay of Blood-esque desperation for survival and riches, while the blackest of black secrets are revealed through flashbacks, painting just about everyone as the nastiest kind of nasty. Perhaps only Christy and O’Keeffe are likeable by comparison, but meet sticky ends nonetheless. Gruesome denouements include being fed into a giant woodchipper, limbs ripped off, acid injection, and one poor person has their face eaten. A decent midpoint twist right out of Orphan and the killer’s identity being an unexpected outcome do little to swim against the tide.

slasher flesh & blood 2021

I don’t understand this series; it seems firmly rooted in the sport of horrible people being killed horribly for horrible reasons. There’s nobody to root for. But will I watch the next season? Probs.

Blurbs-of-interest: Cast members Jacot and Brancati were in the previous three seasons; Patrice Goodman was in Solstice; Alex Ozerov was in The Dark Stranger; Corteon Moore was in the Terror Train remake; David Cronenberg had a cameo in Jason X.

Next Stop: Boredom

terror train 2022TERROR TRAIN

2 Stars  2022/90m

Director: Philippe Gagnon / Writers: Ian Carpenter & Aaron Martin / Cast: Robyn Alomar, Nadine Bhabha, Matias Garrido, Corteon Moore, Tim Rozon, Mary Walsh, Emma Elle Paterson, Alexandre Bacon, Kenny Wong, Dakota Jamal Wellman.

Body Count: 6

‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ as the saying goes, and things don’t get much more familiar than remakes that opt for an almost shot-for-shot route of updating a ‘classic’. Is 1980’s Terror Train a classic? Outside of slasherdom, probably not, but for us? Yes. Yes it is. When 2008’s Train abandoned being a remake of it in favour of being Hostel-by-Rail, the door was left open.

That the plot is exactly the same at least saves me typing it all out again, but prank, Kenny, trauma, three years later, train. The only notable differences are that it’s a Halloween party instead of New Year’s, Carne is now a watchful older lady, and there’s a new character in the form of Sadie, a junior conductor of some sort, who does most of the walking up and down the train and discovering of bodies.

Because writers Carpenter and Martin (who wrote several seasons of Slasher between them) know that horror nuts will remember the twist, the identity of the killer has been changed as well, but with a reduced number of players, their identity isn’t too surprising once revealed.

The main problem with this made-for-TV redux is that it looks very made-for-TV, with watered down production polish, characters who, despite being based on their sympathetic former instances, are uninteresting and saddled with feeble dialogue (“I swear, I’m a good person!” squeals the heroine as the killer closes in on her), and just a disappointing cheapness that manifests with too few extras, making the party look lifeless and poorly attended.

Not awful, just pedestrian, which is kinda ironic given that it’s set on a train ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Blurb-of-interest: Corteon Moore was in Slasher: Flesh & Blood.

100 favourite slasher movie characters – Part II

There’s no order to this, just a celebration of my fave characters over the years, largely (but not entirely) ignoring final girls and killers. (Some spoilers though – boooo).

final exam radish 1981 joel s. riceRADISH

Played by Joel S. Rice

In Final Exam (1981)

Why? Adhering to many-a-trope of the campus nerd, Radish is a rather scrawny know-all, however rather than being a second reel kill, he’s kinda promoted to the hero role as he discovers the murders and does his best to alert crush Courtney to the danger. Crush, you say? Well, there’s that barely obscured trait of him being more than just a little bit camp. Horror’s first final gay? Almost.

Quote: “It’s happening! The psychopaths are here!”


melissa friday the 13th part vii the new blood 1988 susan jennifer sullivan


Played by Susan Jennifer Sullivan

In Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

Why? Fabulously evil Melissa is as socially destructive as Jason is violent. All pearls and high end boutique clothing, she functions mainly to try and thwart weepy heroine Tina’s closeness with Nick, not notice her rapidly disappearing friends, and cop and axe to the face as the film’s last victim.

Quote: “Like has nothing to do with it.”


chris finn wrong turn desmond harrington 2003CHRIS FINN

Played by Desmond Harrington

In Wrong Turn (2003)

Why? One of those ‘clipped’ personalities, Chris is the man who takes the wrong turn that escorts him into a nightmare. Grounded, logical, and a lil bit badass, he doesn’t do a whole lot of emoting, but comes through in the end.

Quote: “C’mon, you motherfuckers… just die.”


mother superior silent night deadly night 1984 lilyan chauvin


Played by Lilyan Chauvin

In Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Why? The epitome of all cliches around a psychologically abusive adult, Mama Sups makes the young life of little Billy hellish, becoming his desired final victim. Despite her counter-evil evilness, there’s something endlessly compelling about the way Chauvin plays it, which, dare I say, is a performance too goo for the film it’s in.

Quote: “I see only greed where there should be gratitude.”


kirby reed scream 4 hayden panettiere


Played by Hayden Panettiere

In Scream 4 (2011)

Why? Losing Randy Meeks in Scream 2 was traumatic, so his torch was passed to the next gen and wielded by dry-witted Kirby, walking horror almanac for the class of 2011. Although plans for the immediate sequel never went anywhere, news that she did indeed survive and will return for Scream 6 was fantastically received.

Quote: “It was the voice from Stab, or… y’know, your life.”


lynda halloween pj soles 1978


Played by P.J. Soles

In Halloween (1978)

Why? She’s the original carefree friend. The one who smokes pot, likes premarital sex, and doesn’t really give a damn about the possible consequences of her actions. But really, who doesn’t think Lynda is just totally awesome?

Quote: “Totally.”


shelly friday the 13th part iii 1982 larry zernerSHELLY

Played by Larry Zerner

In Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Why? The original slasher movie prankster; Shelly just wants to catch up with his better looking mates and find a girl who likes him. When that doesn’t work out, the annoying pranks come out instead. But he’s clearly got a heart of gold and we owe him for furnishing Jason with his mask.

Quote: “They said they were going skinny dipping and I’m not skinny enough.”


jeepers creepers 2001 jazelle patricia belcherJAZELLE GAY HARTMAN

 Played by Patricia Belcher

In Jeepers Creepers (2001)

Why? A local psychic who sees the terrible fate awaiting Darry or Trish Jenner and does her best to warn them of the danger with an unsettling call to a diner they stop at. Sadly, as she receives her future information out of sequence, it’s all gibberish. By the time she physically catches up with them at the PoHo County Police Station, her insights are too little, too late.

Quote: “You know what it eats and don’t you make me tell you!”


mo timothy webber terror train 1980


Played by Timothy Webber

In Terror Train (1980)

Why? Boyfriend characters are usually a bit lacklustre in slasher films, and while Mo doesn’t get the chance to play hero at any time to protect Alana (Jamie Lee Curtis), punch out his manipulative ‘best bud’, or indeed ever be consciously aware of the killer’s presence, there’s a likeability to the character lacking in many other contemporaries, thanks in main to the additional care that went into Terror Train‘s script.

Quote: “I’ll get you for this one Doc …I mean it this time.”


sissy friday the 13th part vi jason lives renee jones 1986


Played by Renee Jones

In Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Why? Part of the new counselling staff at Camp Crystal Lake Forest Green, Sissy is the fun, insightful one but, because she’s a camp counsellor, is doomed. She just exudes mid-80s awesomeness though.

Quote: “Think I’d rather deal with ol’ Jason.”

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