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Charlevoix Street

average rating is 2 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Oct 6, 2022

Film Reviews
Charlevoix Street
Directed by:
LaTracey McDowell
Written by:
LaTracey McDowell
Tay Jones, Eiquna Ferguson, Deandre' Horner

Lower budget indie movies have, more than most genres, been the source of some of horror’s most inventive and engaging original stories, as well as acting as a platform for unknown directors to springboard into bigger and better things. Unfortunately, Charlevoix Street is a misfire that both falls victim to its budgetary restrictions, and fails to engage on the basics like story, acting and an engaging premise.


On a street mysteriously devoid of children, Von Robay (Deandre’ Horner) one of only two youngsters who are residents, disappears in alarming circumstances. His parents Donnie (Tay Jones) and Elizabeth (Eiquna Ferguson) organise a search, and show their concern in public. But behind closed doors, a conspiracy is underway with a dark secret at its heart.


Charlevoix Street is a horror film riddled with issues. Some of these, such as poor sound design or production quality are the result of its lower budget and are somewhat forgivable. However, an incomprehensible story, acting that swings from wooden to unbelievably hammy (with no in-between) and poor writing are far less so, and mean that there is little that impresses about this directionless, 60-minute ramble towards ‘horror’.


The ensemble cast are victims of an opaque storyline that loses focus of its emotional core. The fear inherent with a lost child ought to be a bedrock for the creation of an environment of terror. Yet this beat is undermined almost immediately by revelations around the child’s fate and identity of their kidnappers within the film’s first few minutes, and lost entirely as focus shifts throughout to far less engaging or intriguing plotlines with the rest of the film’s cast.


Dreadful dialogue is another detriment to the film, with unnatural exposition at the forefront of far too many exchanges being required just to cling onto the continuously unravelling plot. One particularly revelatory scene between Samuel (Midtah Phenephom) and Billie (Ashly Sutherland) descends into laughably bad territory, with attempts at disclosing dark secrets instead coming off as crass, and then comedic. It’s unfortunately symbolic of much of the film’s writing – which could be mistaken for an avant-garde B-movie surrealist dark comedy viewed in a certain way.


It's a shame that the film falls so far short of its ambitions, as it is clearly the intent of the director and writer LaTracey McDowell to weave a complex and multi-layered web of intrigue and explore this through dark characters. But failing to ascertain a clear through line with its plot, and the continuous building upon story points which lead far from the film’s emotional core and introduce new, random elements far too late into the story end up collapsing the whole house of cards. With these basics so far out of order, the lower production quality that could have been forgiven is only more distracting and unforgiving. It feels like Charlevoix Street needed to go back to the drawing board and decide what it actually wants to be. Because an inventive, engaging indie horror that punches above its weight it is not.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release, Indie Feature Film, Film Festival
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