Still the Water (2020)

Still the Water (2020)

Director (and writer): Susan Rodgers

Cast: Ry Barrett, Colin Price, Spencer Graham, Christina McInulty

The men in a broken family reunite many years after a domestic tragedy drives them apart. – IMDB

Still The Water is a fairly straightforward family drama. It tells the story of three brothers that have grown apart because of their past. This past is the mystery that carries the story forward for the most part as no one truly addresses it in full. As the pieces fall into place, the division between the brothers, especially the older two Nicky (Colin Price ) and Jordie (Ry Barrett) come into the play. A part of the division that is further emphasized because of the neighbor Abby (Christina McInulty) when Jordie comes back to town.

Set in the beautiful and rarely filmed Prince Edward Island, the setting itself adds a lot to the small town feeling and yet the beauty of the land that they are in. The film was at its best when it was about the family drama as they try to get through the past and reconcile while the present has its own challenges that is breaking one of them apart as well. The other bits with Abby seems more of a necessary stressor that feels like the character is almost there with too much of a purpose and the romantic elements there but never fleshed out enough to connect. With that said, there is plenty of family drama as the movie does focus on the brothers and their father a lot as well as the dynamic of Jordie come back and how he affects each of them a different way as well as the changes in him.

With that said, Still the Water is powered by its cast, most notably the two lead actors, Ry Barrett and Colin Price. For both, its a change in pace as these two actors frequented my own watch list in various horror films which never had this much drama. This film is a fairly quiet one and really shows off their acting skills as they both carry their role incredibly well. The dynamic in their performances do connect very well especially for Colin Price’s Nicky that goes through the most development throughout the film as his character almost breaks apart by the end. Ry Barrett’s character is the main lead in this story as most of it revolves around him, his coming back and the impact that it has with everyone and yet his character is a contrast since it is a lot more quiet despite the character’s beginning parts that show his anger management issues. Its also great when they almost use hockey, boat repair business (I think that’s what it is) and the lobster fishing as means that not only connect to the setting but as a means of how the two brothers express themselves.

Still the Water has some issues of story flow. However, it also adds in a nice soundtrack that matches well with the area and the tone of the film. At the same time, there is a nice addition of this mystery cat that never shows its face living at the house the Jordie temporarily stays which becomes almost a little fun moment of questioning when or whether the cat will show up. These little bits of detail do add to the overall film plus the family drama does piece itself together in a nice way especially as it carries itself with the mystery of what happens and building up to what happened at the end. Its a well thought-out execution for the storyline.

Overall, Still the Water is a decent family drama. The setting, the soundtrack and especially the two main leads adds a lot to the movie as a whole. The family drama is also done well in execution and pacing. Where the movie has its issues is in some of the flow especially with the romantic tangent. Still the Water is well worth a watch as a family drama especially since, without any spoilers, has an ending that I personally like quite a bit.

You can also listen to Movies and Tea movie discussion of Still the Water below:

Fantasia Festival: Bed of the Dead (World Premiere 2016)

Ever since Antisocial’s showing a few years back at Fantasia Festival, Black Fawn Films has always world premiered their movies here. Antisocial, The Drownsman, Bite, Antisocial 2: three of the four I caught at this exact festival. None of these films are perfect to me but they are all passion projects where you can see the love for the horror genre seep through every corner. There are some really great ideas. It might not blow your mind but it has its merit that deserves to be seen. With that said, Bed of the Dead was inevitable in my schedule, as ridiculous as the premise seemed (since everyone laughed when I mentioned it). There was no way I could catch the first one at midnight but this second one was slightly more doable so here we are!

Bed of the Dead was hosted by director and co-writer Jeff Maher and music Stephanie Copeland.

Bed of the Dead (2016)

Bed of the Dead

Director and co-writer: Jeff Maher

Cast: Colin Price, Alysa King, Gwenlyn Cumyn, Dennis Andres, George Krissa, Joseph Cannata

When two young couples book a room at a seedy sex club for a birthday orgy, they bribe their way into a forbidden room that contains a massive, wooden bed, which happens to be carved from a cursed tree. They soon find themselves stranded when something pulls one of them beneath it.- Fantasia Festival

Bed of the Dead is a strange movie to discuss. For one, just like many of Black Fawn Films other productions, it reminisces on an 80s throwback. In this one, inevitably it had huge nuances of the scene in Nightmare of Elm Street. Bed of the Dead throws in a lot of ideas and in many ways, they are clever curveballs. In the Q&A session following, Jeff Maher makes a point that this isn’t a movie that you analyse because it is a mess and its meant to be an entertaining affair. That is exactly how to describe it, although not exactly a mess. There are tons of idea from time travel to cursed objects to hallucinations and desires. There are cheesy lines and awkward character moments. It has some laughs and some jumpscares and a ton of blood. Except with a title of Bed of the Dead and the cursed object being an emperor sized bed, did you expect something else is that question I’d like to ask? Whoever sat in the screening, knew exactly what they were in for and if anything, I was pleasantly surprised when I left.

Bed of the Dead

It is hard to pinpoint what gives Bed of the Dead charm. I believe that the future phase of the movie placed on the morning after the events of the night have passed with these two young couples is the strength as we follow an emotionally broken and drunk investigator that tries to figure out this case. This investigator is Virgil played by Colin Price. As he moves through the scene and each body is shown to him, we flash back to the events that only happened hours ago. Except his story is also much more than the surface and there is a particular care to putting his character together. This is where the mechanics of time travel happens. Virgil is also the strongest performance in this movie.

Bed of the Dead

Except it is hard to give merit to the other characters here. Although it feels deliberate to make the twenty something characters trapped on the bed full of dumb dialogue, particularly the guys and the reactions, it is hard to shake off whether it was meant to be a comic relief and eventually turn into an eye rolling bit with certain small roles as well. The gesture of humor like mentioned before, reminds us of the campy 80s horror. Is that saying that the characters are memorable? Not exactly. The acting still leaves a bit to be desired.

Bed of the Dead

Before we jump into the best part of Bed of the Dead (aside for Virgil), take a moment to think about what makes 80s horror iconic. It is the villain (Freddy, Jason and Michael comes to mind) and the scream queen (the character of Laurie in Halloween for example). This is what makes Bed of the Dead great. Black Fawn Films is iconic for this as well: creating the perfect prop with whatever budget they have and making it the best version possible and finding the girl that fits right in the role. The main players of Bed of the Dead is Alysa King as Sandy and quite unforgettably the bed (which wasn’t originally conceptualized in this way), however this one still proves to be incredibly menacing. The bed itself is the character. There are sound cues and because we are thrown into the situation before really knowing each of the characters, we never know what to expect until someone or themselves recount their story and we wonder how they will be taken out. Talking about sound cues before, the music of Bed of the Dead is also quite fitting. Stephanie Copeland puts together a mesmerizing soundtrack to match with the story.

Bed of the Dead may not be the best movie on the list but it definitely is the one with a lot of heart and passion put in it, and  definitely a pleasant surprise. It has a beautifully carved cursed item with a lot of character and even a back story and a protagonist for us to cheer for. It is predictable in some parts and also suffers from some not so memorable roles, but there are still some decent twists as the use a mix of mechanics especially in the time manipulation bits. However, we do need to remember the intention of the movie is to entertain. Bed of the Dead does a lot of that layered with a great soundtrack and a well-executed storyline even between some silly moments.