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Review: THE HARROWING (2018)

Ryan Calhoun (Matthew Tompkins SICARIO, HIGH MOON ) is a cop on a streak of bad luck. When he steps out of the room to call in reinforcements during a bust of a child sex ring his partner gets killed. His next case goes even worse, he comes back from a coffee run to find his crew and the suspects they were staking out ritualistically slaughtered. Except for the one who’s chewing on their remains, until Calhoun puts a bullet in him.

After this his, he’s pulled from the case by Lt. Logan (Michael Ironside KNUCKLEBALL, THE CONVENT). Doing some digging of his own, he comes across a strange hospital run by Dr. Whitney (Arnold Vosloo, HARD TARGET, THE MUMMY). With Logan’s help, he has himself committed to the psych ward. But he finds that the demons that have led him there may be all too real. Or reality may not be so real.


THE HARROWING, the most recent film from writer/director Jon Keeyes (SUBURBAN NIGHTMARE, DOOM ROOM) blends demonic horror, police films, and medical thrillers into a film that frequently blurs the lines between reality and hallucination. That might actually be its major problem, too many scenes end with Calhoun waking up from nightmares. After a while, it gets hard to take scenes seriously because we expect them to turn out this way.

This is too bad as there are some genuinely creepy and disturbing things going on. The plot touches on not just demons and conspiracies but necrophilia and cannibalism, and some of the sequences are quite nightmarish. Not so much in the sense of over-the-top gore, although there is plenty of that, but the actual imagery and the way it’s presented.

Nightmare or Real

Making use of distorted photography, odd colours and lighting give a lot of scenes a look that causes uneasiness regardless of the content. While at first disorienting, the constant use of quickly edited flashbacks gets old with constant use, however. Some of those scenes could have been trimmed, as at 110 minutes the film could be tightened up slightly.

Overall, THE HARROWING is a neat film that kept my attention and managed to unnerve me more than once. It does have some issues, but it gets the job done

Film Mode Entertainment will release THE HARROWING to VOD on December 25th.

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