Wednesday, 22 July 2015

THE DEMOLISHER - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Strange Canuck Vigilante Thriller unveiled at 2015 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in Montreal

The Demolisher (2015)
Dir. Gabriel Carrer
Starring: Ry Barrett, Tianna Nori, Jessica Vano

Review By Greg Klymkiw

After policewoman Samantha (Tianna Nori) suffers a near-fatal attack (after attempting to rescue a baby in the midst of a devil worship ceremony, no less), she's crippled for life and forced to haul about in a wheelchair. Her angry hubby Bruce (Ry Barrett), a cable repair technician goes completely bunyip. (Where have we heard about el-sicko cable guys before?) Night after night, he dons mega-protective armour, a creepy helmet with a stylish visor and armed with a nice selection of weaponry, he stalks the late-night streets looking for scumbags - any scumbags - that he can take down and send straight to Hell.

Seems reasonable enough, yes?

Eventually, however, it becomes obvious that Bruce is no longer bunyip for mere revenge, he's just plain bunyip and desires to kill, period. After getting a taste of murder pure and simple (an enjoyable murder as it's perfectly justified), he targets Marie (Jessica Vano), an innocent young jogger who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Thus begins a terrifying night for her as she's stalked by a madman bent upon snuffing her lights out.

Okay, so The Demolisher is clearly one of the strangest, most perverse vigilante movies I've seen in quite some time, possibly ever to be honest. Audiences looking for carnage will get more than their fair share, but I suspect that the only killing they'll enjoy in any sort of traditional Death Wish or Walking Tall manner is the one horrific murder of someone who is not a criminal (though like I said earlier, the fuckwad clearly deserves it).

Audiences will also be surprised and possibly delighted with the clear thought that's gone into the screenplay in terms of examining a diseased mind under pressure. There are clearly and deliberately paced moments within the oddball domestic set-up which proceed with very little dialogue and mostly some extremely effective looks and silences. This is probably a good thing since some of the dialogue proves a bit clunky in these moments, the lion's share of clunkiness wafting out of poor Samantha's mouth and occasionally affecting Tianna Nori's otherwise good work.

There's also one ludicrous scene where crippled Samantha manages to crawl into the bathtub with her brooding hubby. In theory, I'm all there. In practise, not so much. If you're going to have a babe join her hubby in the tubby, why the fuck would she be wearing her goddamn nightie? I can understand not getting a nice glimpse of dick, though I'd have been most appreciative of the view myself, but seriously, to not have the hot cripple doff her garments for a loll-about in the tub is tantamount to B-Movie heresy. (And frankly, seeing anyone in a bathtub with clothes on is just plain dumb.)

My fetishes aside, Ry Barrett is effectively stalwart and brooding throughout and what can be said about Jessica Vano other than her fine performance? Well, uh, she's, like, a babe, and we get to see her running around in fear for half the movie. Vano's hot running around rivals that of Penelope Ann Miller tear-assing about in The Relic. That takes some doing. Seriously, hot chicks running around in terror is a blessing, not a curse. Ain't nothing sexier than that. But enough of my fetishes.

I loved the look of this movie. It's just plain ugly for much of its running time, but intentionally so. The lighting and compositions expertly capture both the seediness of its locations as well as the cold, impersonal, almost dank qualities of the interiors. The score by Glen Nicholls is especially dynamite, evoking an eerie blend of 80s funk-drone and just plain effective thriller cues.

And there is a definite 80s feel to the picture (for some, this is better, for others, it'll be worse), but I found the entire tone of the movie fascinating. Once again we have a Canadian genre film with its own distinct indigenous style. Yes, it's clearly inspired by an American tradition of such pictures, but its narrative, look and pace are Canadian in all the best ways - proving again that having a diametrically opposed north of the 49th parallel aesthetic allows for a wholly unique take on genre cinema.

Director Gabriel Carrer might have pulled off the near impossible here by creating a film that shares aesthetic DNA twixt the sad ennui of Atom Egoyan's best work and famed 80s schlockmeister James (The Exterminator) Glickenhaus. It's a film that revels in its exploitative roots whilst examining them also, but without being moralistic. Only in Canada, you say? That's a good thing!

That said, if a movie is going to have some devil worship involving a baby as a sacrifice, could it not at least have the good taste to show the little nipper being hacked open? But, enough of my fetishes.


The Demolisher enjoys its World Premiere at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. For dates, times and tix, visit the festival website HERE. The Demolisher is represented world wide by the visionary Canadian genre specialists Raven Banner.