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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 08.27.14] Canada horror



I love seeing horror movies that feature strange objects either directly or indirectly killing people. Be it Death Bed (a killer bed), Ringu (a killer video), Exte (killer hair extensions) or even the crazy The Happening (killer trees), I can't help but get excited at the prospect of people dying because of otherwise innocuous things. The latest movie to jump in on the action is The Drownsman.

Directed by Chad Archibald and co-written by Archibald and producing partner Cody Calahan who last year directed Antisocial (which featured social media killing people – sort of (review)), The Drownsman takes on more of an urban, supernatural approach. Scream queen in the making Michelle Mylett re-unites with Calahan and Archibald this time playing Madison, a girl who, after nearly drowning in a lake, is paralyzed by water; she stays indoors when it rains and she consumes all of her liquids via a tube in her arm.


Turns out that Madison isn't just afraid of water because of her near drowning. She also believes someone is trying to kill her through the water. Her friends all think she's crazy and when she misses her best friend's wedding because of her fear, her friends stage an intervention that ends up going terribly wrong. Now rather than Madison being the sole target, all of her friends are too.

As the story progresses, The Drownsman evolves into a supernatural mystery about a girl facing her fears and trying to save her girl friends. Sometimes it gets completely ridiculous (sorry, no pillow fights) and if you over think the premise, the entire thing falls apart (its never explained how Madison keeps herself clean) but as an excuse to capture gorgeous under water scenes, you could do worse than this set-up.

It's clear that the titular Drownsman is conceived as a boogie man that could possibly spawn a franchise and though the character has an interesting design and adequately strange back story, the really impressive thing about The Drownsman is that it features a group of female leads who don't simply sit back and expect someone to save them. Madison, as terrified as she is of water, takes on her worst fear to save herself and, in the process, herself. It's refreshing to see a group of women take on the big bad guy head on.

Thought the supporting characters are mostly vacant and the performances bland, the two leads of Mylett as Madison and new-comer Caroline Korycki as Madison's best friend Hannah, make up for it with their great chemistry and onscreen appeal but this is really Mylett's juicy role and she aptly manoeuvres through the scenes with great intensity.

Though I didn't find The Drownsman particularly scary, I did find myself engrossed by it. Not only is it a really great looking movie, it's fun to watch, particularly with a loud crowd.

The Drownsman is currently making its way around the festival circuit.

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Stu (4 years ago) Reply

Good deal. Despite the naysayers I enjoyed Antisocial. Thought Michelle Mylett did a great job of it. Looking forward to this. Thanks for the heads up!


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