We all go a little mad sometimes, but if you’re one of the five friends from THE CORRIDOR it might take a little coaxing from a mysterious portal hiding deep in the woods. If you’ve ever doubted the ‘out there’ nature of indie filmmaking then here’s a film that’s come along to shake things up a bit. I would equate THE CORRIDOR as a quiet and scrawny bully with surprising strength that holds you upside down, shakes out all your change, spins you in circles and leaves you in the middle of the woods with no sense of direction to lead you back home. The film definitely packs a punch but it wants you to get to know it and get close before it mounts a bit of a surprise attack on you so you’re defenseless to protect against it.
The film begins as four friends, Bob, Everett, Jim and Chris visit the house of a fifth, Tyler and find his mother dead on the floor of an apparent overdose and Tyler bursting from a closet waving a knife and babbling incoherently. After the incident Tyler is institutionalized and after some time the five decide to spend a weekend reconnecting out in the snowy woods at a cabin where they visited often as kids. Once out there Tyler discovers a strange box like force field that causes him to develop a nose bleed after spending some time inside of it. At first he believes that his mind is playing tricks on him again so he takes Chris out to reaffirm what he saw but the other friends follow and they all experience the phenomenon and become excited at the possibility that they’ve discovered something huge so one stays back to keep watch while the others go back to the cabin. It becomes evident quickly that this “corridor” has severe adverse effects as each friend begins acting strange but also feel very energized and feeling better than ever until the side effects start turning them against one another.
I know what you’re thinking- cabin in the woods story and a group of friends, been there done that. At first glance I would have said the same thing and I was thinking that for a while, but as you coast into the last act of the film and things start getting extremely dark and twisted I really started to feel like there was something pretty special going on. It takes quite a bit of patience to get to the heart and soul of THE CORRIDOR or should I say the bloodshed, but the opening two acts of the film take their time building its characters so the craziness at the end feels more pronounced. You get a feel for each characters personality so during the final act it makes it that much easier to understand something weird is going on.
The performances carry the whole film but especially for the first half of the film because since there is little going on outside of character development it takes fun and interesting characters to keep the audience on board for the entire movie. You can buy these guys as friends because they have a good rapport and at the same time some of their personalities do clash and the actors sell their differences and how their lives have moved in different directions that it amps up the tension between them as well. The final 20 minutes or so after the scale starts tipping in favor of chaos the performances of the main characters change direction in such drastic ways that it makes the film that much more intense and riveting to watch.
The majority of the film is planted firmly on reality so when “the corridor” itself becomes the center of attention and the more of a mystery that surrounds it the tension becomes great because not only is it hard for the audience to understand exactly what this thing is but it’s obvious that the characters are in over their heads as well which just adds to the unpredictable nature of the film. The turning point of the characters is precisely when violence starts to rear its head and that’s the point where I at least suspected things were not going to end good, but I had no way of knowing where this was going to end up- even if there are clues I still ended the film reeling from what I saw and still had plenty of questions once the credits rolled.
At first before I even watched the trailer I had assumed the film had something to do with aliens- after the trailer I wasn’t quite sure what to think but I still wasn’t ready to rule out aliens. Sitting here now I’m more than pretty confident that I couldn’t have been more wrong in my assumptions- even though if you were to ask me what my perception of “the corridor” was I couldn’t possibly give an answer with an ounce of absolute certainty. What I do know is I loved how the object facilitates what happens in the final act and left me with a sense of dread about what these guys were doing to each other and the uncertainty of what was going to happen next.
On the indie side of things the film has pretty high aspirations towards the end and for the first half seems just a bit like a low budget buddy drama with a hint of science fiction. When you enter into the finale and the blood starts flowing you can feel the low budget but especially in the closing moments its indie style really shows. The effects towards the end are not laughably bad, but they are a bit jarring in comparison to everything that came before it. It comes with the indie label though- so where in a Hollywood production that’s the lowest of insults where in an indie film it’s merely just a caveat some viewers should know about going in and a normal thing that happens in indie features with big ideas.
Going in blind to a movie like this can really only heighten the experience. I knew about the film prior to seeking it out and while not exactly what I was expecting I have to say I felt pleasantly surprised by what I actually saw. Watching the first half of the film there was no way I could have sat with a straight face and tell you how this was going to end. THE CORRIDOR is anchored by not one, not two, not three, not four but five strong performances and a script full of shocks and surprises that range from disturbing to darkly comedic. Some movies portray madness through watching a single character lose it from beginning to end, where as this film attempts to make the audience go mad right along with the characters. I won’t lie, it takes patience to stay on board to the end but in the case of THE CORRIDOR patience pays off in the end.
Written By: Luke (@CrummyLuke on Twitter)