Scary things happen when people go to cabins in the woods. Books made of human skin summon ancient demons. Serial killers hunt cottagers like they're in season. An underground agency creates horrific scenarios that result in offerings to appease the gods. At this year's Toronto After Dark
takes the cabin movie back to the basics.
In a makeshift cabin built on the edge of a Native reserve, Michael (Peter Cilella) has abandoned civilization to drink beer, do meth and shoot stuff. When his best friend Chris (Vinny Curran) receives a video of his out of control antics with the location attached, he's compelled to go out there and pull Michael out of his mess. After Chris arrives, he chains Michael to a pipe in an attempt to force him to endure seven days of sobriety. In the meantime they fight and reminisce about old times. But something else is watching them, steering them in particular directions with an unknown result as its goal.
The first half of the film is mostly a drama about two friends reconnecting after a long absence. In between, Chris fends off Michael's drug buddies to whom he still owes a debt and tries to make peace with the Chief whose land he's squatting on. Though their lives have gone in vastly different directions, their friendship remains.
Then they receive images of the future, allowing them to react and alter the events. Who or what is helping them is unknown, or if what is happening is even for their benefit. As Michael and Chris try to learn the rules and play the mysterious game, the stakes keep getting higher.
This is basically two different movies stitched together. The first is a drama about addiction and friendship, made lively by the inclusion of a couple of violent characters. The other is about some supernatural spectre, possibly of Native origins, taunting Michael and Chris. The two mesh well, but there's still a disconnect between the stories that is never resolved. Even the movie's conclusion is ambiguous, providing few answers to even the biggest questions.
Directors: Justin Benson
and Aaron Moorhead
Starring: Peter Cilella
, Vinny Curran
and Zahn McClarnon