The Breach at Fantasia Festival 2022

The Breach
Canada | English
2022 | 93 Minutes
Director: Rodrigo Gudiño
Cast: Emily Alatalo, Natalie Brown,
Wesley French, Allan Hawco

Crafting a film during a pandemic has its limitations – as is evident in Rodrigo Gudiño’s new film, The Breach.

Just before he leaves for the big city, Chief of Police John Hawkins (Allan Hawco) is asked to consult on a strange case. A body is found in a boat on the Porcupine River with unsettling the wounds. It’s a find that shakes up the small town of Lone Crow and a job for local coroner Jacob Redgrave (Wesley French). They begin to suspect the remains are of a missing physicist, Dr. Cole Parsons (Adam Kenneth Wilson), and Hawkins is forced to revisit old ties with his ex, Meg Fulbright (Emily Alatalo)—the town’s charter-boat captain who knows the waterways like the back of her hand.

She takes Hawkins and Redgrave to Parsons’ leased house, where he conducted secret research deep in the woods. When they arrive, they find the home in disrepair, with an indescribable heaviness and a strange machine in the attic. Parson’s missing daughter and a visit from his grieving wife Linda (Natalie Brown) put the investigation deeper into mystery, and more secrets revealed push everyone to the brink of danger.

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Unfortunately for everyone that had bought tickets on the premise that rock icon, Slash, from Guns N’ Roses, would be in attendance – he wasn’t. Quietly, Slash cancelled his appearance without giving a reason as to why, as the banter in the theater showed that the audience where not impressed one bit. Slash, to be fair, did join in on the fun following the film, for a question and answer period via zoom, where he announced he would have liked to have appeared but had caught covid the week prior.

Personally, the parts of the film I did like seemed to all be an homage to something else. The body horror of films such as The Thing and Alien, or the general feel and even setting that shared the same vibe and ambiance as many an episode of the X-Files. There were some interesting ideas throughout the film, but not enough to make it a memorable experience – and chances are I won’t sit through it a second time. Still, catching the North American premier at a festival as great as Fantasia is quite the thrill.

Some of the visuals were really well done – things like the hollowed out corpses, for example. But a lot of it was also pretty camp. The walking skinless corpses were awfully done, and looked like a child’s Halloween costume. I think I expected better. Maybe that’s on me. The story failed to grasp my attention also, and the characters felt undeveloped to the point that I didn’t care what became of them. Visions of The Fly (even though director Rodrigo Gudiño apparently changed the story that would have had people transforming into insects) and Honey I Shrunk The Kids danced about my imagination.

I have been an avid reader of Gudiño for many years in his Rue Morgue magazine publication, and fully expect his next feature to be much better than The Breach. Given the many restrictions the pandemic placed on the arts, I will say this was an admirable effort – but I think the best is yet to come from Gudiño.