By: Trevor Jeffery
James (Patrick McFadden) is a typical 20-something living in Toronto facing a quarter-life crisis: he’s got a job he hates along with a boss he hates, a girlfriend towards whom he is apathetic, and he is tired of the city’s drone. The final straw is a devastating diagnosis, after which he packs up and leaves everything behind for the dense woods of British Columbia. Camping out and surviving with only packed sundries and his wits, James soon finds that despite being miles and miles from civilization, he’s not alone out there.
Trevor Juras’ The Interior is like someone mixed understated comedy and suspense horror – except in this situation, understated comedy is olive oil and suspense horror is balsamic vinegar. They don’t blend, but with the appropriate application they go well together. Fortunately for The Interior, the combination works remarkably well.
The first half is a funny “what is life” style film about a bored Gen Y-er. The second half is that same character in a suspenseful fright film: he’s “alone” in the woods with nothing but a tent and the feeling of helplessness from whatever is taunting him. Both work independently, and both come together to make a cohesive whole – though there are times when you might reflect on how inconsequential a lot of the earlier film was.
Once the suspense starts building (be patient, it takes a while), it’s thick and tedious – the way you want a suspense thriller to be. The frights are few but powerful – not startling but chilling in their delayed and lagged appearances. However, the film fails to resolve satisfyingly. You’ll get to know what happens, but if you need the “why” you’ll walk away frustrated.
The sound quality is thin and the camera work is distractingly jerky at times, which might amount to the lack of appropriate equipment. That aside, The Interior is unique in its structure and entertaining the whole way through both of its offered genres.
The Interior screens at Toronto After Dark on:
Monday, October 19 at 9:30 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre
For more information on the festival, visit the official TAD webpage here.
Buy tickets here.
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