SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE: The Strings (2021)

One look this film’s ’70s drive-in retro one-sheet and you can see that Canadian writer and director Ryan Glover is one of us: raised on those classic horror films from the early days of video stores filled with wares from the ’70s. Primarily a cinematographer with 20 credits to his resume, The Strings is his third dual credit. He made his debut with a short, The Key (2008), and a Toronto-based drama, Hills Green (2013). Both films are collaborative efforts from Glover and his screenwriting partner, Krista Dzialoszynski.

A cross-pollination of horror and thriller, as the one sheet says: Catherine, a Toronto, Ontario, musician, will have her eyes opened in the dead of winter. As she stays at her Aunt’s remote cabin on Prince Edwards Island to work on new material for her next album. That is until a mysterious presence of an urban legend makes itself known. There’s nothing like a break up with a boyfriend to send you running to an island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (one that empties out during the dead of winter) to make you easy pickings for a victim of a religious-based suicide by self-freezing in the cold, Atlantic-fed waters.

Glover accomplishes a lot with his slight location and small cast, expertly capturing the cold, barren isolation of the off-season island. However, if you’re in the horror market for “shock scares,” this isn’t your film. Be prepared for a well-written and acted character study buoyed by Teagan Johnston’s performance that brings Dzialoszynski’s scripted chills to fruition and only adds to Glover’s crafty camerawork.

Horror fans my recognize the names — for some additional streaming incentive — of producers Robert Menzies and Paul Moyer from The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015), and Dave Conlon and Bruce Fleming, known for A Nightmare Wakes (2019).

You can now stream The Strings exclusively on Shudder.

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