The Corridor is One Weird, Wild Trip.

Main Cast: Stephen Chambers and David Patrick Flemming

Director: Evan Kelly

You know what my problem with movies like this is? They always have this group of 4 or 5 guys who’ve been best friends since school, whether grade, middle or high school, and bring them together for a boys’ weekend in the middle of nowhere, all the while ignoring the obvious: NO group of best friends is this big. I have several really close friends, all of whom I consider my best friends. But of those, only 2 of them are friends with or without me, and they really have known each other almost their entire lives. I was the third wheel when I came in, but we’re still all really good friends. But when we tried to bring a fourth into the fold one time, it didn’t stick. As for my other best friends, they know each other, we’ve all worked together, but none of them are the least bit close like they all are with me. They would say hi if they passed each other in the grocery store, but that’s about it. The “best friend” concept, I don’t believe, works on a scale larger than 2-3. Or maybe it’s just me.

Either way, that’s the premise here. Five guys who’ve been together since school meet up at a cabin in the woods, owned by one of the guys, to help cheer up that same guy who has recently been released from a mental hospital after having a nervous breakdown and attacking his friends when his mother overdosed on medication.

Tyler (Stephen Chambers, “Rookie Blue”) is the one with the mental instability problems and he goes into this weekend just hoping for the best, trying to make it through without any hallucinations and to come out the other end more confident that he doesn’t belong on the inside any longer.

Chris (David Patrick Flemming, “October, 1970”) is the most damaged of the others; Tyler stabbed him in the hand on that fateful day and said hand has never been the same. Ev (James Gilbert, “The Tudors”) is the bartender/performer, working in a dive bar and banging his boss, a woman named Lee, in exchange for open mic nights. Bob (Matthew Amyotte, “Haven”) is still living in the past, watching old tapes of his performance on the football field and clinging desperately to those last few wisps of hair. Jim (Glen Matthews, Hobo With a Shotgun) is here strictly for Tyler, but if he’s being honest, he’d rather just stay home with his wife.

As you can probably guess, things start out okay, if a bit tense, and soon turn to complete crap.

There’s something in the woods. It’s a mysterious corridor of energy that, once they discover and step into it, fills them with something they’re not sure of, nor do they know how to contain or control it. In their excited naivety, they mistake the power it fills them up with for a good thing and begin to let it take them over. It’s a weird and uncomfortable scene for Tyler who thinks they need to get the hell out of there. But for the others, their minds are slowly slipping into a madness they don’t know how to process.

Josh MacDonald (Faith, Fraud and Minimum Wage) wrote the script, and he did a great job with it, with natural-sounding dialogue that really helps to establish the characters as real people. Evan Kelly directed and I was already impressed with his work on My Little Eye, but The Corridor establishes him as a solid front runner for master of suspense (Okay, so he was only AD on Eye This is his first full-length solo project).

Everyone did a pretty good job in their roles, but James Gilbert kept distracting me with his discount Phil Winnick look. I just couldn’t help it; any time I saw him onscreen I didn’t see Ev, I saw Bradley Cooper.

The tone of the movie, as well as the setting, reminded me a lot of the Stephen King adaptation of Dreamcatcher, with the old friends coming out to the woods and encountering some mysterious thing, but thankfully MacDonald and Kelly kept things localized and focused and really worked hard to bring out the most tension and suspense they could from this premise. There were several times I was genuinely creeped out, and that rarely happens.

This was a movie that starts with a bang, then resets after the prologue, and takes a bit of time restarting, but once things are moving along, it not only keeps going, it soon starts barreling along at quite a fast pace, speeding toward an ending you not only weren’t expecting, but one you’re not entirely sure how to take. Which is my way of saying you may want to watch this one again. Maybe even as soon as it’s over.

Obviously I really enjoyed The Corridor and if someone wanted to come along and make a sequel, expanding the mythology, I wouldn’t mind that at all. That’s my two cents.

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