Fantasia Film Festival 2014: The Drownsman (2014) & Picket (short 2014)

I personally think that if you go to Fantasia Film Festival and skip out on horror genre, which probably takes up a good portion of the film selections, you really are missing out.  Sometimes, you find all sorts of gems here.  I know I did.  One of my most anticipated one and probably one that the trailer scared me a whole lot was The Drownsman.  The trailer was so creepy that I didn’t even finishing watching it.  However, my boyfriend did and since he was going to go with me, he told me that it looked great so I bought the tickets to see the World Premiere of this.

The Drownsman is from the director of last year’s rather popular selection Antisocial, which I did not get a chance to see because it was at this weird 4pm showing or something and I couldn’t get off work.  I did end up buying the movie recently and trying to find time to give it a viewing.

Before The Drownsman, we had a 5 minute short to start called The Picket, directed, written and produced by Izzy Lee.


Its a 5 minute short about a church cult leader going to make a deal to be met with a surprise. I don’t really have much to say about it since its so short.  The surprise was a bit funny, but they did built up the tension pretty well.  Good use of background music/effects 😉

Going on to the main feature, lets start with a little synopsis!

the drownsmanDirector: Chad Archibald

Cast: Michelle Mylett, Caroline Korycki, Gemma Bird Matheson, Sydney Kondruss, Clare Bastable, Ry Barrett

Madison (Michelle Mylett) goes through an accident that causes her to have a sudden hydrophobia.  This phobia intensifies when she keeps having nightmares of seeing a mysterious and creepy man capturing and drowning women.  It also causes her to trap herself in her own house and avoid all means of water including rain and the like, hindering her everyday life.  After her go through this torture for an entire year, her best friends decide to have an intervention and decides to reach out to this possibly dead man’s spirit to resolve the issues and end the haunting.  Except they end up waking up something worse than they ever could imagine or even believe existed in the first place.

the drownsman

The Drownsman aims to give us the next creepy man that the 80s horror gave us from Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers.  At least, thats what I got from Chad Archibald during the Q&A.  There is no doubt that he does a good job at building up the creepy appearance of The Drownsman.  That man is all creepy as we are kept in the dark as to what this man looks like.  You remember, The Ring, how we never knew what Samara looks like after her crawling out of the well until that moment.  Then we get the chilling factor of what she looks like.  We’re on that sort of level right here.  The Drownsman had a good few effective scares and even though this was low budget (and the director talks about that over and over again), I appreciated the effort that was put into this.  Listening to the passion put into this movie from him and his crew, it really adds some value and meaning to a movie.  Through and through, this is a passion project. One with a lot of water!

The Drownsman

The Drownsman held a good cast.  I liked the girls that played each role as they created a balance to each other personality-wise.  There was a friendship thing going on and the story behind it was pretty legit relating to Madison and these nightmares that haunt her.  The whole thing is done well.  The guy who gets all heavily made up to be The Drownsman didn’t have much to say but he was pretty creepy in my books (but then my getting scared is really not saying a lot). What helped this movie was setting the most eerie atmosphere and the location set for the actual place where The Drownsman was intense.  The good use of darkness, sudden thrills and eerie music really built up the perfect mood.

The Drownsman

After everything that worked, there’s just one thing that didn’t work too well for me.  Its really two things but its linked to each other.  That has to do with the continuity and repetitiveness of how the story is carried out.  The Drownsman is not a very long movie for starters and in many cases, that is a good thing, even a great thing because you get straight to the point and there’s no lingering.  Except, in this case, I might have wanted some lingering.  The scenes were very choppy from one to the next and the whole thing of how the girls get caught up in being haunted by The Drownsman starts getting really predictable because it just cuts from one to the next then to the next event.  There was nothing to link it and it seemed to be rushed a little.  So all in all, this all comes down to how I would have liked to see a better execution.  Maybe there was a little bit too many scenes cut during the editing process.  I really don’t know.  The director did say during the Q&A that there are whole lot of scenes cut from the original and thats available to see when you order the movie online when its available at some site.  I need to review the recording of the Q&A to check that out. Now, that has me intrigued and I’m definitely going to try and get my hands on a copy of that whenever it comes out 🙂

the drownsman

Overall, The Drownsman is a decent horror flick.  They have great cinematography, music, effects and a potentially great horror boogeyman for the new generation.  The only issue was the execution and perhaps editing too much out of what could’ve been a story that flowed slightly better with less repetitions.  Still, some parts caught me at the edge of my seat.  The cast is fantastic and you can tell that everyone involved was wildly passionate about this movie from start to finish.  Although parts of the middle chunk isn’t quite as effective, the beginning built up the mood pretty well and ending 20 minutes was totally awesome! 🙂 The premise and concept was great but it still misses the mark by , however, there was only the little bits in the middle that bothered me so I’d say that its worth a shot!

Have you heard of The Drownsman? Seen the trailer perhaps? What do you think of it? Would you want to go see this?

4 thoughts on “Fantasia Film Festival 2014: The Drownsman (2014) & Picket (short 2014)

  1. Pingback: Fantasia Film Festival 2014: Time Lapse (2014) | Tranquil Dreams

  2. Pingback: Ends, Beginnings and Everything in Between! | Tranquil Dreams

  3. Pingback: Fantasia Festival 2016 Rundown! | Tranquil Dreams

  4. Pingback: Fantasia Festival: Bed of the Dead (World Premiere 2016) | Tranquil Dreams

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