“The Canal” is a 2014 Irish/Welsh produced horror film directed by Ivan Kavanagh (“The Fading Light”).
David (Rupert Evans – “The Incident”, “Hellboy”) is a film archivist, who whilst cataloguing some old crime film reels discovers that the house in which he lives with his wife Alice (Hannah Hoekstra – “App”) and five year old son Billy (Calum Heath) has a dark history.
A father killed his family and their nanny there over 100 years before. Following this David starts seeing and hearing things that could be delusions or echoes of the past, and it’s not long before he is delving into local crime history and uncovering more crimes committed in his house or around the nearby canal.
David’s life takes a real turn for the worse when he begins to suspect that Alice is having an affair with a work colleague. He follows her and sees her meet up with her lover, following them back to a house near the canal. Feeling nauseous, David runs into a public toilet block at the side of the canal to throw up and starts to have strange hallucinations. While this is happening, his wife disappears.
Under suspicion from the police over Alice’s disappearance, David suspects that the dark spirits of his home and the contents of the old film reels are connected to what’s happening in the present. The more he digs to unveil the shadows hidden behind the walls, the more unhinged and dangerous the situation seems to become, and he believes that Billy and his young nanny Sophie (Kelly Byrne) are at grave risk of harm.
Despite support from his workmate Claire (Antonia Campbell-Hughes – “3096 Days”), David struggles with his sanity throughout his desperate search for the truth and his need to make anyone else understand what he believes is going on, even as events are leading to their climax…
This is a decently acted film, with a good sense of suspense, nice cinematography and enough chilling visual hallucinations to ensure that you keep questioning what is actually happening and how it will all play out in the end. Unfortunately, come the end things are left a little muddled, and the answer to the question of whether David is the victim of an unbroken cycle of otherworldly evil, or is rather less innocent is left to be rather ambiguous.
Despite that, however, I found the film to be very entertaining…