ALT | Altered States
Retreating to a remote Nova Scotia beach house seemingly situated at the edge of the world, a mother (Danika Vandersteen) and her two-year-old son (Woodrow Graves) are bedeviled by both the personal torment that drove them to this desolate outpost and the otherworldly figures who have started to assemble on the sandy shores outside. Inventively employing sinister sound design and an arsenal of resourceful practical effects to conjure psychedelia and shifting realities, Seth A. Smith’s astonishingly ambitious Maritime Gothic is the trippiest Canadian horror film this side of Panos Cosmatos’ Beyond the Black Rainbow. Commanding a toddler performance for the ages from Graves (his son), Smith ensures that the supernatural occurrences that begin to swirl remain resolutely grounded. The result is a fever dream that you’re inclined to surrender yourself to as if it were a warm embrace.
"The Babadook goes to the beach… A creeping atmosphere sets in almost immediately, gripping the screen tight until the final image, which can either be read as subtly hopeful or despairingly eerie. Smith’s hallucinatory aesthetic—God bless whoever invented the art form of paint marbling, used to magnificent effect here—and Vandersteen’s and Graves’s natural bond form a unique marriage of the surreal and the grounded."—Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail