Inspiration may be Jason Armstrong’s first feature-length movie in seven years, but he’s been a consistent storyteller. Just this Summer, Armstrong (along with frequent collaborator Mike Klassen) made 9 Days with Cambria, a moderately successful web series confronting abuse through short stories performed by different actresses portraying the same character.
Armstrong has carried over Cambria’s tranquility (and music-driven montages) into Inspiration along with a similar style of natural performances. Leading lady Emily Alatalo (one of the Cambria’s) also reunites with the writer/director for this horror/thriller. She’s very good alongside a “who’s who” ensemble of Canadian indie horror cameos.
Unfortunately, Inspiration is in need of a tempo adjustment. Much of Inspiration plays like a cinematic run-on sentence. From scenes featuring characters spouting off exposition or verbalizing their characterization to intense chases involving a freaky masked slayer, everything never quite heats up to more than a tepid simmer. This means movie goers are either patiently waiting for something to happen, questioning the importance of what they’re watching, or ill-prepared for a burst of fear. The last example is what viewers are usually wanting from a horror/thriller, but Armstrong undercuts his tension with unripened deadpan jump scares.
Imagine if comedian Steven Wright was telling you the hook-man campfire story. The combo could’ve worked for intentional comedic effect, but for Inspiration’s dramatic horror, the pieces don’t quite sync up.
Inspiration screens at the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival on:
Sunday, November 27 at 4:30 p.m. @ Toronto’s Cineplex Yonge and Dundas
For more information on the festival, visit the official BITS webpage here.
Buy tickets here.
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