The Breach ★★★ 1/2 Fantasia International Film Festival

The Breach ★★★ 1/2 Fantasia International Film Festival

The Breach may tread down familiar paths but does so with great confidence. The focus on the story is what shines through here. Though it doesn’t hurt that when the film wants to get gruesome, it does so with glee.

Just before he leaves, 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, 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). With Hawkins forced to revisit old ties with his ex, Meg (Emily Alatalo)—the town’s charter-boat captain. Parson’s missing daughter and his grieving wife Linda (Natalie Brown) put the investigation into mystery. As more revealed secrets push everyone to the brink of danger.

Stop me if you have heard half of that synopsis before. The script for The Breach takes from many (many) well-known tropes and tries to make it its own thing. Perhaps the surprise is how invested you are in the story. This may have a pretty run-of-the-mill synopsis, but the talents in front and behind the camera ensure there is rarely a dull moment. Moments where the film needs that push come exactly when needed, and the atmosphere is particularly striking.

While we get some good background building of our characters as they try and figure out what exactly is going on, the story tries its best to keep the audience at a distance. Never overly keen on revealing its hand too much, we see characters explain just enough to stop us from getting confused and to keep us in the loop.

The Breach’s strength is undoubted in that you are never able to place your thumb on what it is firmly. That mix of police procedural with body horror and even murder mystery leaves you wondering what exactly you are in for. More importantly, however, it never fails to keep your interests piqued. By having so many genres melded in together, you would think that The Breach would become befuddled, lost in itself. It never does, and it takes a great deal of skill and confidence to be able to juggle all those genre balls together without letting even one drop.

That other strength, and one as a horror genre fan, we can revel in is the practical effects. They are interspersed here and there throughout the film until chaos reigns down on The Breach in the final act. Knowing director Gudiño’s background, you would expect nothing less than the wonderful gruesomeness we get here.

The fact that you can clearly see how limited the budget was on this film, you do come away thoroughly impressed with what is presented. Everything works as well as it can, and the horror elements are very effective. Casting is integral for a smaller film like this, and to that, they have succeeded immensely. Everyone works well off one another, and you importantly believe their actions and reactions to moments that happen.

The Breach lands everything it needs to, and while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it keeps the familiar threads fresh enough to make itself its own thing. A solid horror that makes sure to remain menacing at all times.

★★★ 1/2

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