Film Review: The Drownsman Revives ’70s-style Villain

Hailing from Guelph, Ontario, Black Fawn Films a Canadian production company, brings The Drownsman a horror flick. Directed and written by Chad Archibald and co-writer Cody Calahan, the two have been working hard to create a movie that will frighten you. Black Fawn Films hoped to create a ’70s type persona of a badass villain, something that has long been dropped by horror films and replaced by paranormal activities and zombies.

The Drownsman

The Drownsman offers an interesting plot of a troubled girl named Madison (Michelle Mylett), tormented by visions of a creature whom drowns his victims. Paralyzed by hydrophobia, Madison flees any source of water until her friends bring in a conjurer. This hoax, unfortunately for our girls, turns horribly wrong, yet keeps us entertained. We follow Madison and her girlfriends throughout the story and one by one the inevitable happens as they meet their fate only to slowly find out that blood is not thicker than water in this flick.

The artistic direction and mood set in this film is beautiful. Every scene amazingly crafted and well laid out, even when the choices are questionable. Who has a bathtub in the centre of their bathroom? It does happen, but not very often. The Drownsman’s lair is awesome. There are a bunch of tanks where he drowns his victims and even –- yes, you guessed it –- a bathtub.

Some things disturbed my enjoyment of the film. The story moved at a slow pace and there was the sudden coincidence of certain events. Most horror stories will try to make a viewer believe that this could happen to him and that all of this is real. The scenes where our victims are brought to the lair to be drowned are wonderfully executed but at the same time lacked realism. I won’t ruin anything but I sort of giggled when a nurse takes out her water bottle.

The Drownsman

With such huge potential, the idea behind the film was amazing, the ’70s-take on horror film might have been what made me less afraid. Overall, I give it a 6/10. For me the story just didn’t cut it the right way. Again, not to spoil anything, the final showdown is quickly resolved and left me feeling a little cheated. More slapping in some instances would have been required and for good reasons.

Black Fawn Films is one of those production companies that has been built like a family. With such artistic potential, I cannot stop cheering for these Canadian boys.

The Drownsman premiered at the Fantasia Festival.