I first heard rumblings of THE CORRIDOR about a year ago over Facebook. For those of you who doubt the power of social media marketing, take that! Post after post showed up in my feed, linking me to some fantastic early reviews. When the trailer for the film first appeared, I couldn’t be more excited. I bookmarked everything and patiently waited for the festival notices to roll in. One after another notices for screenings in the U.S. came through and awards quickly followed – Best Picture (2011 Flickers Rhode Island Int’l Film Fest), Best Lead Actor, Stephen Chambers (Tulsa Int’l Film Fest) and Best Screenplay (Fantastic Fest, Austin TX). Then a screening at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival was announced where THE CORRIDOR ended up taking The Audience Award for Best Canadian Feature.
THE CORRIDOR is the story of five lifelong friends re-uniting and continuing a well-worn tradition after a recent tragedy that could have potentially torn them apart. I hate spoilers but there is so much I want to say that could easily ruin a lot of the subtle twists and turns that occur. So here is the trailer. Watch it and then I’ll go on –
The corridor itself is the central point of this story; while it is visually stunning and adds a very surreal aspect to the film, it is not what drives the story forward. In my guide to gore review I used to word subtle to describe the twists, sci-fi elements and violence within the film– but maybe that wasn’t the right word. I think the word I was looking for was controlled. There was a good amount of show and tell but it was rolled out in such a way that implied much worse was to come. They showed you what they were capable of and then sat back, allowing your mind to fill in the blanks, and to fear where they would go next.
Even with the corridor–an unknown source of powerful evil–present through most of the film, the danger is most prominent in the company kept. The characters are what truly drive the story. This is what allows you to walk away from the film with a very frightening realization – you don’t need the supernatural, an escaped mental patient or a stranger with a knife to follow you out into the middle of nowhere; being isolated with a group of friends can be terrifying enough. How well do you really know your friends?
Shooting on location in Canning, Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, allowed for the cold and isolating backdrop. While this country has some very gorgeous scenery to work with, a lot of films do not really showcase it due to our Canadian winters being extremely unpredictable. This production did face such difficultly making exterior shooting frustrating at times. Luckily this does not reflect on screen. The exteriors were effective in creating the perfect atmosphere. Every outdoor shot forced you to feel cold, lonely and distant – as if the journey and torment is never going to end. You know that dream where you are running towards a door that keeps moving further and further away? That is an image I feel relates to this film.
Regardless of their differing tastes, writer Josh MacDonald, producer Mike Masters and director Evan Kelly worked together beautifully to create an interesting and terrifying exploration into human connection and the fragile mind. What translates onto screen is the product of a strong team and we look forward to seeing more of their work in the future.