Film Reviews

Blood in the Snow Festival 2023 – Feature Film Round-up

It’s time to return to Canadian film festival Blood in the Snow. We’ve taken a look at the short films, now let’s see what they have to offer in terms of full length movies. We picked three to cover this year and they offered three very different flavours of horror.

Walking Supply

Walking Supply, directed by Derek Barnes, is the tale of a group of men who are kidnapped and forced to work at a Russian labour camp. They manage to escape and set out into the wilderness to try and find their way home.

As their initial numbers dwindle as the cold and accidents take their toll, it starts to become clear that some of the group have their own specific ideas about what to do to bolster their dwindling food supply.

This one was a fun time. The start was a bit ropey, and the acting is a little up and down in places. But once the setting moves to the frozen wilds the film finds its feet and becomes a truly engrossing ride where it’s not clear who, if anyone, will make it to the end credits alive.

Hats off to James McDougall, playing the character of Henry, who is really the central character of the story. He’s excellent as a man truly out of his depth, just trying to stay alive and retain some semblance of hope and human decency even when all those around him seem to have lost theirs.

READ MORE: Blood in the Snow 2023 – Shorts Round-up

Tales from the Rez

Tales from the Rez, rather than being a movie, is an anthology of comedy/horror stories based on legends from the Blackfoot tribe. Each is framed by an intro and outro from a chap called Uncle Randolph, who introduces the story and then wraps things up at the end.

There are demonic deals, angry ghosts, a flashback or two, and – my personal favourite – a half-man/half-goat hybrid with a penchant for eating pussy… cats. He eats cats. Not whatever you thought I was saying. The first story is probably the weakest, but from there it quickly finds its groove and becomes a genuinely entertaining time.

There are 6 episodes in total, with each running a modest 15 minutes, so if you don’t like one story, don’t worry, as there’s another one coming along in a minute or two. Uncle Randolph will steer you right, don’t you worry.

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Wrapping up our coverage this year is Romi, directed by Robert Cuffley, and it’s a simple tale of love, revenge, murder, lies, and digital assistants gone wild. Our lead character is Maddie (Alexa Barajas) who, for reasons we won’t spoil, has to lay low for a while.

Her mother pulls some strings and manages to find her a house-sitting job looking after Hertig’s (Pavel Kríz) state-of-the-art house which is controlled by a digital assistant called Romi (Jocelyn Chugg). Of course, it would be a terribly dull film if everything went to plan, and soon Maddie finds herself plagued by what starts out as technical problems and ghosts in the machine that quickly escalates into something truly terrifying.

There are a few cheap jump scares, you know the ones. Something lunges at the camera or there’s a quick glimpse of something grotesque accompanied by a crash of sound to make you jump, but mostly the movie earns its scares with some well-executed creepy shots and a mounting feeling of dread and claustrophobia. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but it’s a fun movie where the story veers off in directions the viewer was probably not expecting.

Blood in the Snow runs from 20th to 25th November.

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