Ghost stories are hit and miss for me, and The Canal is a film that falls into that latter category. Considering the 90 minute runtime, it was such a hard slog. There was so little going on that engaged me, and what did happen I simply stopped caring about after calling the ending a mere quarter of the way through.
The film follows an archivist (Rupert Evans) whose sanity crumbles after watching a film documenting a murder case from 1902. Upon realising the murders took place in his new family home, everything around him gradually falls apart until.
The Canal was beyond predictable
I really don’t want to sound arrogant, but there was absolutely nothing in this film that I didn’t see coming. Everything from the jump scares to the ending showed themselves long before they happened, which ruined the film for me. It annihilated any suspense and turned the entire thing into more of an endurance test than a mysterious ghost/haunted house tale.
Aside from this, there was also a number of other things that really took me out of The Canal. It had this choppy editing style that really didn’t work in the way I think it was intended. It felt like it was supposed to show David’s significant unravelling, but instead, it just looked like the film was having playback issues. The film was also home to one of the most unhelpful police officers to ever grace our screens, with dialogue that was even less helpful to the actor playing him.
There were small glimmers of hope
They may not have amounted to anything, but The Canal did have some elements that weren’t all bad. The tension between the two lead characters was one such thing. You really got a sense that this wasn’t a happy partnership; that David and Alice (Hannah Hoekstra) had gone, or were going though, a real rough patch. It was clear that mistakes had been made and that there was a real lack of trust in the relationship. This was such a solid foundation for what was to come, but unfortunately it was squandered.
As well as this, the film takes a couple of moments here and there to properly attack the senses. When these moments came along, they didn’t hold back. I would like to take the opportunity to officially call for an end to all scenes taking place in grotty public toilets. There are just some things I don’t need to see, and even less that I need to imagine smell-wise. I thought the toilets in Candyman were bad enough, but this was something else. There was also another truly mind-blowing moment at the end of The Canal that really made me question what exactly I was watching, but the less said about that the better.
The Canal was not for me
To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. The writing prevented it ever hitting the heights it was aiming for because it seemed to rely on a ‘twist’ that was so obvious I’d seen it coming a mile off. Even with the few things that didn’t fall on their face, The Canal was beyond repair. It was a film that really pushed my patience to it’s limits.