- adults growing apart from childhood friendships,
- realizations that you're getting older and things aren't all going to work out as you'd hoped, and
- a mystical corridor of light in the woods that drives everyone into a homicidal rage.
The picture opens with a rush as we watch the complete breakdown of a man. His mother lies dead on the floor. Bursting out of a room he hacks away at everyone in sight, wounding two friends who are trying to help. Fast forward and five friends arrive at a cabin in the snow covered woods. They're there to scatter the ashes of the dead woman and mark her son's release from the institution he was at. The official story is that the mother committed suicide which caused her son to have a break from reality. Though as we learn it may (or may not) be more complicated than that.
Things slide pretty quickly into bloody mayhem at this stage. Perhaps a little too quickly for my taste. I was enjoying the dialog between the characters and wouldn't have minded the downward spiral to be stretched out a bit more. But at the same time once the the section starts where they stop being "real" and start being bat shit insane things more forward at a good clip. So as opposed to a fair number of other horror films there's not just endless scenes of people brutalizing each other. This one is short and to the point. While there is some gore it's in reality pretty restrained. The film though does suggest a lot of things that take place offscreen that the brain fills in the blanks on. They're some pretty squirm inducing blanks at that. The film did make me jump (and hard) at least once, though most of the terror isn't really scare focused. More of a how far will these characters go freed of any moral constraints and with the ability to hear each other's weaknesses and fears.
Horror isn't my favorite genre and I wouldn't say this is one of my most standout experiences this year. I do tend to like my horror more tinged with a feel of malevolent fun, such as Rabies which also screened at Fantastic Fest. But I think there's definitely a lot to commend in The Corridor - most specifically the characters and dialog created by writer Josh MacDonald. I wouldn't at all mind watching the first half again to listen even more closely to the discussions between the friends. The other achievement of the film is the smart use of the closed in cabin spaces by director Evan Kelly. I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for what comes next from these guys.
The Corridor won the best screenplay award at Fantastic Fest 2011.