‘Sometimes strangers can seem familiar’
The Dark Stranger is a 2015 Canadian horror feature film about a young artist struggling to overcome her psychosis before it destroys her.
Written and directed by Chris Trebilcock – making his feature debut – the movie stars Katie Findlay (How To Get Away With Murder), Stephen McHattie (Pontypool), Enrico Colantoni, Mark O’Brien, Jennifer Dale, Alex Ozerov, Emma Campbell. Produced by Paula Devonshire and Glen Wood.
Leah (Kate Findlay), a young artist, is recovering from a recent traumatic event and is afraid to leave her own home. After her father is visited by a suspicious art curator looking into her family’s past, she begins drawing a graphic novel in which there is an ominous Dark Stranger (Stephen McHattie).
As work on the novel progresses, Leah begins to see The Dark Stranger in real life. She isn’t sure if she is completely losing her mind, or if the Dark Stranger is a supernatural force trying to destroy her…
” …one never doubts that Leah will eventually overcome and defeat the Stranger and, by extension, her fears and anxieties. This leaves most of the suspense to ride on the identity and nature of the Stranger, who turns out to possess a perfunctory origin story. This leads to the film’s anticlimactic resolution of the conflict…” Cinema Axis
“Lacking sustained energy equates to diminished longevity for “The Dark Stranger” in the long run […] Look past predictably pat scares like an under the bed hand or camera-passing shadow jumping to a “dun!” and you’ll see a thriller more thoughtful than it is terrorizing.” Culture Crypt
“Director Chris Treblecock (who also wrote the script) does a great job creating a wonderful atmosphere that allows the actors the freedom to really get into their roles. The movie is paced well and the movie moves from scene to scene very well. The only real problem I had with the film is the ‘evil’ that really doesn’t come out to play till that latter half of the movie.” Geek Chic Elite
“The examination of the link between depression and creativity is wonderful fodder for a horror film and there are elements of the film that work very well, particularly the performances and the direction. However, when the demon that is depression threatens to become too literal in the final act, the film starts to lose the sober gravitas that it so expertly built up during the first hour.” Really Awful Movies
“A significant chunk of the film is portrayed through the awesome artwork of Sean Scoffield, which pivots on creepy visuals that eventually suck Leah in, echoing the comic book kill from A Nightmare on Elm Street 5. Shot for a meagre $1.3m, the cash stretches a long old way and much higher budgeted flicks don’t look this good.” Vegan Voorhees
“The film generalizes (and, of course, fictionalizes) the problem of suicidal artists by linking it not to a chemical imbalance in the brain, but to the film’s titular “dark stranger,” who, as we learn, possesses artists he is jealous of. Showing off its director’s creative edge (that is sometimes over-reliant on Cronenbergian body horror), The Dark Stranger commits a unique premise to a serious issue.” Wylie Writes
Cast and characters:
Katie Findlay … Leah Garrison
Alex Ozerov … Toby Garrison
Enrico Colantoni … Brendan Garrison
Stephen McHattie … Randall Toth / The Dark Stranger
Jennifer Dale … Doctor Anne Parsons
Mark O’Brien … Mark
Emma Campbell … Ellen Garrison