By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
at the Victoria Film Festival
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Denis Côté‘s Ghost Town Anthology is a cozy supernatural character driven drama which, as the title implies, collects a few anecdotes together by those people who knew the person who killed himself at the start of the movie.
Everyone who lives in this small Quebec town of Sainte-Irénée-les-Neiges, population 215, knew Simon Dubé (Philippe Charrette). Nobody understood why he took his life and too much time was spent over thinking who he was and what happened which led to his suicide. When considering how icy hard the ground is (the tale takes place during the hard winter), he can’t even get a proper burial.
The first half of the film is slow as it explores the reactions of nearly everyone who knew him. The better part is when new people–dwarves in heavy woolen clothes–start appearing and the people of this village react to this intrusion. Other beings include pint-sized entities hidden behind creepy looking masks. It’s easy to assume they are kids, but they’re more like the ghosts from the Legend of Zelda games. Add a high timbre rattle and I’d be getting chills. Their costume design is perfect.
The reactions from the township even better and we are treated to a M. Night Shyamalan style of film where the misdirection is better than the implied terror this community is facing.
Ultimately, the ghosts are not the ones created from untimely passings. They result from other reasons. I don’t want to say too much as this film has a few nice twists. It’s a gentle horror film than all out terror. This indie art house looks at what ghosts represent doesn’t differ from what an investigator may find in a veritable ghost town. The only difference is in whether the living and dead can move on and find peace.
3 Stars out of 5