Monday 3 July 2023

Horror Film Review: The Breach (2022) ★★★★☆

I was hooked from the very first scene of the trailer for Rodrigo Gudiño's Rue Morgue horror, The Breach. A body has been discovered in the tiny Ontario town of Lone Crow and when Chief of Police John Hawkins (Allan Hawco, Republic of Doyle) asks whether it is a local, Deputy Connie Parks replies uneasily, 'I don't know how you would tell'.

Something horrible has happened on the banks of the Porcupine River and, with one week left in town before he moves to the big city, Hawkins needs to get to the bottom of it quickly. He enlists the help of coroner Jacob Redgrave (Wesley French) and local tour guide Meg Fullbright (Emily Alatalo) and together they travel up-river to the last known address of their possible victim, Dr Porter.

The Breach (2022) Landscape Poster

What they find is a house derelict beyond belief; Meg assures the men that it was not in this condition when she first dropped the doctor off mere months earlier.

To compound their issues, it is clear from the outset that John, Meg and Jake have some serious baggage between them and it isn't always certain that they'll be able to sidestep that history and act like professionals. The casting was fantastic in this respect, with all three actors delivering an onscreen friction worthy of a soap opera.

Derelict-looking house, a victim with impossible wounds, drama between the main characters? What could possibly go wrong?

As it happens - a lot, maybe too much. But we'll get to that later.

Filmed on location in Parry Sound, Ontario, The Breach features some stunning cinematography from Eric Oh (Sorry About the Demon). Most of the film takes place in the derelict home of Dr Porter, with some truly artistic composition. I'm always wary of excessively dark scenes in horror films but there was a great use of shadow, silhouette and flashlight to guide the viewer through the scenes.

I should probably admit here that I clearly don't know how to watch trailers properly anymore because I thought this was going to be a dark mystery-thriller, more along the lines of a police procedural than a horror film. I was wrong. The Breach is a stomach-churning body horror that had me gagging in disgust in some scenes, peeking from between my fingers in others, and desperately wishing I could un-see that fingernail scene.

Undead Ghoul in the Breach (2022)

The music in The Breach was fantastic. One of the reasons I watched this film was due to the involvement of Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist, Slash. He was executive producer and wrote and performed the foreboding opening theme in collaboration with Aybars Altay. It is James Zirco Fisher’s excellent score that sets the disquieting tone for the rest of the film, featuring tracks from his 2004 album Nightmare Picture Theatre, and the film ends off with She Past Away’s dark-wave anthem “Soluk”.

I’m on the fence as to whether the plot delivers. The Breach is based on Nick Cutter’s Audible original of the same name, featuring much of Cutter’s penchant for gore and cosmic horror. The problem is that it was a primordial soup of plotlines – was it in the sci-fi, zombie or body snatcher genre? Who knows? One of these threads seems to prevail in the end but sadly it's the most vague and underdeveloped part of the plot. It's frustrating because if that’s the outcome, I would have wanted to know more about it.

Emily Alatalo is Meg Fullbright in the Breach (2022)
I give The Breach a solid 3.5 stars, rounded up to four out of five stars thanks to the excellent music and the conflict between the main trio. Recommended for fans of The Void, The Fly and The Mist. Rodrigo Gudiño delivers a different type of horror to that which I normally enjoy but I'm intrigued enough to check out more of his work.

The Breach is distributed by Lightbulb Film Distribution and will be available on Amazon, Sky Store, Virgin Media, AppleTV and Google Play on 10 July 2023. 

The Breach (2022) Trailer. Directed by Rodrigo Gudiño

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