The Canal (2014)

The Canal
Director: Ivan Kavanagh
Writer: Ivan Kavanagh
Cast: Rupert Evans, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Steve Oram, Hannah Hoekstra, Kelly Byrne, Calum Heath, Carl Shaaban
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard Morrissey.]

A few years ago David (Rupert Evans) moved to a new house with his wife Alice (Hannah Hoekstra) and his son Billy (Calum Heath). Back then they were happy but nowadays, David doesn’t trust Alice anymore. He believes that she has an affair. Things start to escalate when David stumbles on old film material of his house, showing a police investigation after a gruesome murder at his place. Afterwards David follows Alice to catch her in the act of infidelity – which he achieves. She disappears then, while David passes out in a public toilet, making him the prime suspect. But he starts to believe that there really is some evil at his house that is responsible.

The Canal was all over the place, trying too many things at once that just won’t come together in anything coherent. Which makes it pretty frustrating.



The film starts out fine but the longer it went on, the more it fell apart, as the film starts to heap on more and more things that feel less and less connected. First, it’s a haunted  house. Then somehow the public toilet is also haunted, and actually it’s the canal. And then there’s not only a gruesome murder, it’s satanists. Etc etc etc. [Also a bit much but in a completely different way: how can a film archivist afford a 24/7 live-in nanny???]

And I might have been able to go along with that (though that’s a big might) if the ending hadn’t been so completely stupid. I mean, it was absolutely obvious that it was David who had killed Alice – in fact, in the quick glimpse he catches of Alice being pushed into the canal while he lies in the toilet, you can see that it is David who does the pushing if you look closely. So, they could have gone with the “there’s nothing supernatural, David is just completely bonkers” explanation and it probably would have worked better than the actual ending we got (and that’s not even considering the ending with Billy).

the-canal1But even if the ending had been better, there would have still been one and a half hour of boring, badly paced incoherence preceding it, so I seriously doubt that it would have saved the film anyway.

I just really couldn’t go along with it, despite an eerie atmosphere and a couple of good scares. But there was just too little that made sense to me.

the-canal2Summarizing: Meh.


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