Coming from director Jon Keeyes and with a cast that boasts the legendary Michal Ironside and Arnold Vosloo, The Harrowing is an intriguing and bloody horror movie. One with more then a few nods towards Shutter Island.
We’re introduced to The Harrowing as we see an undercover sting operation into a paedophile ring go wrong. One that results in death for everyone but Detective Ryan Calhoun (Matthew Tompkins).
This intro is a false start as we jump to an undetermined time later and Calhoun is working another case. Unluckily for him this also goes wrong with his entire team murdered in what looks like a ritualistic killing. Calhoun is forced to shoot one of his own as the man chews on a corpse and rambles on about demons.
Lieutenant Logan (Michael Ironside) pulls him off the case which Calhoun takes personally as Logan despises him. However, he can’t let what happened go and begins to find links to ritualistic murders and a forensic hospital run by Dr. Franklin Whitney (Arnold Vosloo). Calhoun comes up with the idea of going undercover to get information, something the lieutenant agrees to go along with.
Inside the hospital though, Calhoun will find a medley of unusual characters and secrets buried deep within. As stories go, it’s interesting even if it is pretty predictable. It works hard to try and keep you guessing but if you’ve seen Shutter Island, you’ll find yourself easily guessing the finale.
The quality of The Harrowing rests heavily on the performance of Matthew Tompkins and he knocks it out of the park. His character is complex yet easy to relate too while also being likeable. He’s got some duff dialogue to work with but adds some charisma to things making them much more manageable.
The rest of the cast play second fiddle to him but certainly don’t disappear into the background. Ironside is great as the gruff old-school boss, Vosloo is commanding and a number of the patients in the hospital stand out in their own way.
The visual style of filming is hit and miss though. The overuse of blurring and frantic camera movements are a little frustrating. It lacks finesse and style, something that makes it feel amateurish even though it certainly tries hard.
Good pacing, some great horror effects and plenty of intrigue to leave you wondering just what you watched. The Harrowing is a good horror film that manages to keep you engaged for its fairly long run-time (110 minutes).