James Reviews Evan Kelly’s The Corridor [Fantastic Fest 2011 Review]

Paranoia is one of the most frightening things in life and when done well in a film, it gives you that sense of dread where you don’t know where the pot is going to boil over. The Corridor, a Canadian effort from director Evan Kelly and John MacDonald, promised a film with a slow burn, one that terror would come out of nowhere. This is what the director promised before the screening, but did it deliver?

The Corridor opens up with what appears to be our resident nutter, Ty Crawley (Stephen Chambers) hiding in a closet, blood trickling down his face and looking through and seeing his mother, face down on the floor in the hallway in front of him. As he’s rattling off some crazy talk, his friends get into the house, seeing the destruction that occurred before they got there, and investigate. When they find Tyler’s mom on the floor, he comes out with a knife, slashing Ev (James Gilbert) in the face and stabs Chris (David Patrick Flemming) right through the hand. Bobcat (Matthew Amyotte), the big burly one, tackles him to the ground and that is out brief introduction to our characters. This is then where the slow burn starts to happen.

Flash forward some time later, and all the friends are heading to a cabin in the woods, Pauline Crawley’s, Ty’s mom, to pay respect to her and to meet up with the friend who lost it all for some reason. Ty gets there first, with her ashes and hopefully his sanity intact, recently being released from a psychiatric hospital. Tension is present when all the friends meet up for the first time and we assume the shit is about to hit the proverbial fan, but Chris just throws a snowball at Ty. The friends are trying to play along, but unknown to Ty, Ev has been pouring vodka in his drink all night. Which makes it less believable when Ty wanders off in the middle of the night and sees this strange glowing cube in the middle of the forest, with his mother in the same bathrobe outside of it. When he tells Chris about it, Chris is a bit worried about his friend losing his mind again but agrees to investigate. He has the others back him up, expecting Ty to freak out in the middle of the woods, but everyone does see this, as Ty calls it, ‘corridor’.

The Corridor is a very good low budget horror effort from Canada, which harkens back to the good old days of Canadian genre films of yesteryear. While watching it, I got the influence of The Thing mixed with an early Stephen King short story but is well executed with their limited budget. When it comes to the script, it is more about the psychological elements, where friends start to go against each other, maiming (a fantastic gore effect that is best left unmentioned until you see it, but it involves Jim, played by Glen Matthews, who is the friend who didn’t take part in the intro to the film, that is one of the best I’ve seen in quite some time) and murders, showing the underlying anger and what something as mysterious as the corridor can do to a group of lifelong friends who are all in a mid-life crisis.

Practical effects are a key element here, where they mentioned that CGI blood pisses them off severely (thank god for that) and computer effects for the corridor itself, which is a great use of the special effect. The acting between the five actors seem natural, which is why this film works ultimately as an atypical horror film. We care about these characters from the get-go, their interactions don’t feel forced and ultimately we feel bad when someone meets their maker. This is definitely a horror film that should be watched with the lights low, with a few friends that you would hopefully go away to a cabin in the woods and not kill one another. Great script plus great acting plus great practical effects make for a tense film, but just remember it takes a bit to get to the good stuff, instead focusing on the relationships between everyone. And I’m happy they did so.

James McCormick

Writer. Podcaster. Social Media Enthusiast. James has loved film from the moment he set eyes on the screen. A Brooklyn, New York native, always trying to find a film that will shock and surprise him. Twitter / cineAWESOME

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