Newest Reviews
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Forever Purge, The
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Deadly Games
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
No Time to Die
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Power of the Dog, The
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
  Strings, The Alone Again, Naturally
Year: 2020
Director: Ryan Glover
Stars: Teagan Johnston, Jenna Schaefer, April Aliermo, Lora Bidner, Toby Hendy
Genre: Horror, Drama, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: There is a tale told in these parts of a man, a bloody toolbox, and a suicide by walking into the sea on a Winter's day, but as Catherine (Teagan Johnston) makes up her mind to head out there after dissolving her band and wishing to make solo material, that story is not uppermost in her mind. She simply needs to get away from it all, and staying in her aunt's seaside cottage up in a quiet region of coastal Canada seems like the best way to achieve that, and she is even reluctant to receive any e-mails or texts, never mind take any video calls. However, her isolation there may not be conducive to her creative spirit, and as she prefers to lounge around the cottage getting very little done, could it be that she is going ever so slightly crazy?

Well, we've all seen The Shining, and he had his family with him. The Strings was a collaboration between director and co-writer Ryan Glover and writer Krista Dzialoszynski and the musician Teagan Johnston, formerly known as Little Coyote (and nothing to do with fellow Canadians Tegan and Sarah, if you were wondering). It was certainly a showcase for Johnston as she was in practically every shot, and got to perform some of her songs as well, making this as much a music film as it was a drama, yet there lay a problem, for this was promoted as a horror movie and what chills there were turned out to be doled out piecemeal in the latter half. Indeed, if it wasn't for the ending, you could be forgiven for not realising it was intended to be a horror at all.

Therefore what you had skirted closer to character study, except that Catherine did not have an abundance of personality from what we could see, since she barely interacted with anybody - there were really only three characters in the whole movie, and one of those only showed up a couple of times on a Zoom call. Asking the audience to fathom what was going on in the protagonist's head was a tough call when most of what we saw of her was lying around, tinkering with electrical equipment, attending to stuff around the house, sleeping and so on, and sad to say it was not exactly riveting. Maybe they intended it as a study of loneliness as Catherine had cut herself off from the rest of the world, only there was a presence that may or may not be in her head that was keen to make it apparent she was not as alone as she thought she was.

Who was that bloke on the beach, standing outside the cottage, looming in her bedroom? Was he the ghost of the man we saw walking into the sea at the very beginning? Could be, but what was his interest in Catherine? That was more difficult to work out as there were very few clues offered, and the subplot where our heroine meets up with a photographer, Grace (Jenna Schaefer), for publicity shots may have had an unexpected resolution, but that did not necessarily mean it was best for the narrative. There was a little gay interest as Catherine and Grace made tentative moves towards romance, but even with all this empty space in the film there was not enough to do the relationship justice. If you were a fan of Johnston's music from before, you may be interested in her nude scene, but even there you would be more alarmed that she was starkers outside in a Canadian Winter with snow on the ground (bare feet on snow - urgh). There was stuff here that you would not see elsewhere so much, though whether you needed to in the first place was debatable. Nicely photographed landscapes, mind you. Music by Adrian Ellis.

[Premieres Tuesday, November 23 2021 on Shudder.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 325 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: