DON’T SAY ITS NAME (2021) Reviews and overview of Indigenous American horror

 

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Don’t Say Its Name is a 2021 Canadian horror film about a supernatural entity that is stalking tribal lands threatened by coal mining.

Directed by Rueben Martell – making his feature debut – from a screenplay co-written with Gerald Wexler (Vampire High series; The Hunger series; Are You Afraid of the Dark? series). Co-produced by Rene Jean Collins, John Kerr and Carolyn McMaster.

The Chaos, a Film Company production stars Sera-Lys McArthur, Madison Walsh, Julian Black Antelope, Tom Carey and Hannah Duke.

Reviews:

” …director (and co-writer) Rueben Martell pulls off his horror with aplomb. Its indigenous setting is rich and authentic, a natural backdrop for some terrifying First Nations traditions. Its unique perspective is augmented by a trio of strong female leads, with an especially admirable and grounded performance from Walsh, who calmly stands in the centre of the storm and bravely gets on with the job.” @ssholes Watching Movies

“If the “indigenous people horror” subgenre had bigger breadth, Don’t Say Its Name probably wouldn’t be a majorly memorable movie. Fortunately, a little flash of flair peeks through to get noticed, even though the film feels a lot like a standard SyFy movie without the cable staple’s usual order of cheese.” Culture Crypt

Don’t Say Its Name presents Canadian horror without any of the usual embarrassing identifiers. It carves out a place for itself in the Canadian horror lexicon right next to titles like Cube and Ginger Snaps. And just like these other examples, Don’t Say Its Name manages to feel distinctly Canadian in ways that feel dangerous and exciting, rather than because it’s under-financed or slowly paced.” Dread Central

Don’t Say Its Name manages to be an entertaining yet flawed ghost story that remains engaging, though the end result is a bit lacking and ultimately forgettable.” Film Pulse

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” …while it shows potential, there is also room for improvement. The effects for the monster/ghost creature were very distracting for me so that obviously didn’t help. Also, the pacing wasn’t always to my liking. However, the basic plot and (especially!) the focus on issues currently threatening the future of Native communities makes for a very complete movie-watching experience.” Heaven of Horror

“Despite a couple of clichés such as the lead who’s a single mother and the service member with PTSD, Don’t Say Its Name manages to be something a bit different. Not to the point where viewers will be confused by what’s going on, but enough to differentiate itself from similar films. Most importantly though, Don’t Say Its Name is a fun piece of supernatural horror.” Voices from the Balcony

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The film segues into some good action sequences before its finale, and there are some hints at the cause for all of this which add a new layer to the storytelling, but all told, subtlety is not the name of the game […] if director and co-writer Rueben Martell wanted only to tell an entertaining, suitably-paced horror yarn with a few novel plot developments, then Don’t Say Its Name fits the bill very well.” Warped Perspective

Release:

Don’t Say Its Name had its world premiere at the Fantasia film festival in August 2021.

Cast and characters (alphabetical):

Julian Black Antelope … Carson
Tom Carey … Donny
Hannah Duke … Jessica
Carla Fox … Mary Lynne
Catherine Gell … Frances
Sheena Kaine … Kharis
Bud Klasky … Diner
Justin Lewis … Andy
Samuel Marty … Ben
Sera-Lys McArthur … Stacey
Wilma Pelly … Aggie
Griffin Powell-Arcand … Gary
Pardeep Singh Sooch … Ray
Madison Walsh … Betty

Filming locations:

Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

Technical details:

84 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Clip: