Anthology films can be a tricky beast to tackle as one or two missteps can derail the entire production. Fortunately, Montreal Dead End avoids such blunders which is an achievement given the whopping 15 segments that make up the film.
Unlike some of its horror anthology peers, Montreal Dead End does have a thin semblance of a plot that loosely ties the vignettes together. When a green mist emerges from a portal in the sewer, and spreads all over Montreal, strange things begin to occur. Some neighbourhood residents are turned into the undead, some encounter ghosts, some are possessed, and a few dimwitted residents are oblivious to the pandemonium breaking loose around them. Only a guardian (Marco Collin) and his amulet can set things right but, in order to do so, he must first locate the book of prophecies that contains the incantations he will need.
Naming each segment after neighbourhoods in the city, the film works best when it is not taking itself too seriously. Take for example the gleeful gross-out humour of “Le Parc La Fontaine” in which a couple must confront issues of jealousy and gender when their souls swap bodies. Another comedic gem is the Shaun of the Dead-esque short “Beaubien” in which a couple looking for a place to eat fail to realize that people on the street are trying to kill them.
Of course, there are some more serious fair worth one’s attention. “Île Sainte-Hélène” is a captivating piece revolving around an older woman jogging in the woods who encounters a mysterious group of children. “Le Vieux-Montréal” is another strong piece that leaves much for the viewer to decipher as a walking tour guide begins to get visions of a harsh puritanical past.
If there is one complaint to be had, it is that many of the segments are too short. The film would have been better served if had trimmed the number of vignettes and allowed them to breath more. Regardless, those looking for a fun romp filled with gore and laughs will find much to enjoy in Montreal Dead End.
Saturday, November 24, 9:30 PM, The Royal Cinema