The Corridor Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Signature Entertainment
Directed by Evan Kelly
Written by Josh MacDonald
2010, 98 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 25th February 2013
Stephen Chambers as Tyler Crawley
James Gilbert as Everett Manette
David Patrick Flemming as Chris Comeau
Matthew Amyotte as Robert 'Bobcat' Comeau
Glen Matthews as Jim 'Huggs' Huggan
Mary-Collin Chisholm as Crawley
A gang of chums meet at their friend's cabin in the woods to provide support (read: booze and wisecracks) as he scatters his mother's ashes. Best hide the kitchenware though – Tyler has a habit of stabbing his friends when he gets too stressed. And nothing exacerbates the stress like a supernatural corridor setting up business in the woods outside your home.
In its tale of old friends meeting as adults and battling both their own demons and an otherworldly evil, The Corridor very heavily resembles a Stephen King story. All it's missing is a signpost which reads 'Maine' and an alcoholic writer for a protagonist. Indeed, with the snow, the cabin, the childish men and the outside forces of evil, The Corridor is distractingly similar to King's Dreamcatcher at times. There's even the establishment of a psychic connection and the old King trope of friends/relatives turning on one another. Even the poster looks similar. That said, The Corridor is so much better than Dreamcatcher actually was, so I should probably stop insulting the former by comparing the two. At least we don't have to put up with the trauma of seeing that lovely My Name is Earl fellow killed on the loo and Donnie “not Mark” Wahlberg drawling “Ister Ay” in a manner that's probably quite offensive to someone (not least fans of good acting).
The distracting similarities don't end with the mirroring of lesser Stephen King works. There's one fellow who really looks like a grown-up Simon from The Inbetweeners and jock Everett is the spitting image of Bradley Cooper. The Hangover 2 would have been so much more bearable if it had this film's last-act’s gore and shocking violence. Look out for an alternative cut in which the blokes turn on Zach Galifianakis and beat him to death in the woods.
The characters are very likeable though, with easy charisma and an almost tender blokeish chemistry with one another. They're all very well-written, with clearly defined personalities and hangups. Their early scenes together (apart from that one where someone gets stabbed in the hand) are like a five-way bromance. Stephen Chambers is particularly good as Tyler, his vulnerability and earnestness making him easy to root for. How can you not forgive that face? David Patrick Flemming really reminds me of Damian Lewis, which doesn't help with the Dreamcatcher comparison.
Beyond its surface similarities to other stories and people, The Corridor is an ambitious, intelligent and emotive psychodrama. The friends are mostly likeable and easy to spend time with, the story interesting before the titular corridor even turns up. When the horror does finally arrive, it's disturbing and surprisingly saddening. The effect is spoiled slightly by some rubbish CGI effects (amongst the worst I've ever seen in an otherwise good film) but by then, the merits of the story render it distracting rather than destructive.
With some great visuals (Nova Scotia, not the CGI), characterisation and acting, The Corridor is an indie gem. Where most low-budget cabin in the woods movies would be content with a handful of zombies, flesh-eating virus or psycho hillbilly, this one dares to do something different. It's a refreshingly grown-up study of masculine friendship, brotherhood and mental illness. It made me look twice at the way I interact with my stupid buddies, and would certainly make me question heading off to a remote cabin in the woods with them. Sad, clever and memorable, The Corridor is the best story Stephen King never wrote.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.