Black Mountainside (2014)

Director: Nick Szostakiwkyj
Starring: Shane Twerdun, Michael Dickson, Carl Toftfelt, Marc Anthony Williams, Andrew Moxham, Timothy Lyle, Steve Bradley. Canada. 1h  39m

Like a creepy love letter to John Carpenter’s; The Thing (1982) from a methed out HP Lovecraft, Black Mountain assembles a dark story the slowly gets more sinister until a bleak but strong ending.

Much like the thing, there are a small crew working in harsh icy conditions of Northern Canada, but this team are a group of archaeologists who uncover an ancient structure and some artifacts which date around the last ice age, perplexed by the date of the objects and in wonderment of the people who crafted them, the men continue to investigate and study the pieces but their presence spook the native members of the crew who quickly abandon them then their communications fail and their supplies are cut off, but this is the least of their problems.

The men start to experience odd sensations both physically and psychologically, they assume that a virus can escaped the dig site so they isolate themselves which only antagonises their problems as it’s more than just a virus this is a shadowy mystical  sickness of the soul, not something that they are prepared for but the effects of it are gruesome as well as eerily nightmarish, as the men’s symptoms worsen they start to turn on each other, encouraged by a hallucinations and a.. figure that lurks on the edges of the forest.

The cast are all pretty strong, which is vital for a movie with such small numbers, the main catalyst is Dr Piers Olsen (Dickson) who’s the rational thinking in the bunch, but once the shit hits the fan then hes questioning his own sanity too. Together they do materialise a team which is actually stronger than those boys in the 31st Outpost. Their foe is a little more hard to digest, not that the mechanics of the thing was easy to really get your head around the first time, but chuck in a mythical aspect and boom you’re on new eerie territory, and I was just so thankful that it isn’t just another zombie flick.

The tone of the film is a little inconsistent but as the men are slipping in and out of a psychosis it’s easy to see how the production team fumbled the ball but in the big scheme of things it’s a minor problem. The tension builds with a dramatic fashion through a continuous build up of real horror elements, there’s no cheap jump scares here, and that’s totally commendable in a film where there’s no limit to the gruesome nastiness that takes hold before the kick to the stomach ending, it’s really an amazing effort for an indie movie, I can’t wait for the next production, Hammer of the Gods.

A small note, when I brought my DVD, the film was just titled BLACK MOUNTAIN…

Rating:  7/10

R: The Thing (1982), The Ritual (2017), Blutgletscher (2013)
L: Cabin Movies, A-Z of Canadian Movies, Trapped in Ice
Vs: The Thing vs Black Mountainside Vs RItual

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