Montreal Dead End (2018)
Directors: Remi Fréchette, Priscilla Piccoli, Quentin Lecocq, Emilie Gauthier, Loic Surprenant, David Emond-Ferrat, Eve Dufaud, Frederick Neegan Trudel, Mickael N’Dour, Julie De LaFreniere, Catherine Villleminot, Tiphaine Dereyer, Hugo Belhassen, Audric Cussigh, Gaelle Quemener, Mara Joly, Charles Massicote, Jimmy Pettigrew
Montreal Dead End is a 15 part horror anthology set while “a supernatural mist is seeping through the cracks of the city, causing various evil enchantments related to the neighborhood from which it escapes, waking up a dark spirit here, a vengeful ghost there, releasing a plethora of terrifying creatures, possessing numerous citizens and even turning some of them into zombies, or entities from the beyond. The key to this paranormal chaos lies within a First Nations legend, a shamanic amulet and a guardian (Marco Collin) in search of a book of prophecies and premonitions which only he can decipher. The quest takes us from one part of the city to another, crossing paths with unexpected events and multiple creatures along the way. ” [BITS 2018]
A fifteen part horror anthology that runs over less than an hour and a half is a marathon in itself. Some of these are barely snippets and is truly a short film in itself set in the different boroughs of the city. Between these films is one part of the anthology called The Guardian (“Le Gardien”) directed by Remi Fréchette that is the key behind all this chaos. It is intertwined between all these different stories and brings the entire story together. The beauty of Montreal Dead End is that it acts as a tour of the island of Montreal. Its panning scenes taken by drone takes a lot of aerial landscapes of this city, at the same time also showing off its many touristic areas. Being knowledgable of Montreal probably adds to the enjoyment of the city because of the familiarities and the preconceptions of each neighborhood.
To call this anthology a beauty is not accurate because it is better described as a quirky movie experience. Many of the stories grow from some very odd ideas, for example “Part 10: Who Listens to Celine Anyways?” where anyone who listens to Celine Dion music will automatically be possessed and some can see some indirect influence from other films like “Part 13: Folie Legumineuse” that feels a bit like the gingerbread man scene in Krampus. There isn’t any story in particular that is extremely horrific however. It acts more of a horror comedy with perhaps a few slight exceptions. A lot of the merit of these stories are in its creative ideas even though some of the execution is overly obvious.
This anthology’s heavily lies on the main plot that runs throughout with the guardian played by Marco Collin as he goes in search for the book of prophecies that only he can control. It is well-timed each time the appearance of these small snippets appear from one location to the next just like a treasure hunt as it also helps gain a better understanding of what is going on. After the resolution of it all seems a little hasty.
A movie anthology like this has its charms. To be fair, any anthology has its great, good and lackluster bits. With one with so many different parts, it is hard to escape that fate. With that said, Montreal Dead End won’t be for anyone. Maybe one story or another will please someone but this one has some very odd ideas that might just seem off putting for many. You can’t fault any of these directors for not putting their twist and being incredibly creative with their ideas. Its going to appeal to a specific audience who will appreciate what its trying to do here.
Montreal Dead End is showing on November 24, 2018 at 9pm at The Royal Cinema for BITS Festival.