dir. Rodrigo Gudiño
When a canoe washes up carrying a badly mutilated body it shocks even the town coroner of Lone Crow: if you were going to rank things you wouldn’t want to hear at an autopsy, “Where’d the bones go?” would have to score pretty high.
John Hawins (Allan Hawco) is the local cop tasked with solving the case who – together with his deputy Connie (Mary Antonini), coroner Jacob (Wesley French) and charter boat captain Meg (Emily Alatalo) – sets out to an isolated house recently occupied by a renowned theoretical physicist. As they explore the now-derelict building it becomes apparent that the scientist’s research has taken a dark and bizarre turn.
This sophomore outing from director Gudiño (founding editor of Rue Morgue magazine) has character and story beats that are comfortably worn in: a small town mystery, a love triangle, a cop on his last days of the job. The film also dips into sci-fi territory while keeping a classic rural horror aesthetic – an interesting choice which unfortunately doesn’t quite gel. There’s a feeling of disconnection between the subject matter and style, the threat itself lacking any real sense of menace.
“Mad scientist” films are at their best when examining the human cost of pushing the boundaries of knowledge and seeking immense power. But in order to show the fallout they need to set out what the scientist was hoping to accomplish in the first place: Herbert West reanimating the dead, or Seth Brundle teleporting across the room. The Breach keeps both its audience and characters completely in the dark as to the nature of the danger and what it’s capable of – we see the gruesome aftermath but this exists out of context and therefore lacks emotional weight. Despite this massive credit goes to the effects team of Daniel Baker and Chris Cooper who concoct visceral body-horror moments that genuinely disturb.
Overall though The Breach throws a lot into the mix but struggles to hold together as a coherent whole. The familiarity of so many aspects means that the viewer is never out of their comfort zone, and the film never delves beneath the surface of its scares.
© Melissa Cox