If there's one potential aspect of the future that scares the living bejesus of me, it's the idea that the rapid development of technology will lead to a singularity. Admittedly, I am not as up to speed on this concept as most of the folks reading this, but as I understand it, we're heading full tilt towards a future where Skynet has one, and there's a merging of the human mind and technology in to one large collective conscience where all knowledge and thought resides.
Speaking with The Corridor's writer Josh Macdonald after its screening, he got to talking about how Event Horizon influenced the film. While the settings are obviously different (the vast outer reaches of space versus an isolated cabin in the woods) the comparison is an apt one. Like EV, The Corridor involves a group that stumbles upon something unexplainable, and its influence drives each of them mad before ultimately destroying them.
The Corridor kicks off with a death and a breakdown. Three lifelong friends break into their friend Tyler’s (Stephen Chambers) home and find his mother facedown and dead on the floor, and Tyler cowering in the closet. They try to coax a rational explanation from him, but are met with his nonsensical ravings about being unable to keep the noise out. The situation ends in violence, as he slashes one friend cheek and stabs his best friend through the hand, the wound damaging enough to end his career as a sign instructor.
Months later, Tyler has been let out of the institution, and his friends have gathered with him at their childhood vacation home in order to give the mother’s ashes a proper send off. Thus begins the slow burn phase of The Corridor, as we learn about the friends and see how the dynamics of boyhood friendships and rivalries affect the group as adults. Initially the men see the retreat as a way to kick back and blow off steam, but the fragile mental health of quickly turns the events somber. When the friends stumble upon a mysterious opaque construct in the middle of the woods, their initial joy at their discovery soon takes a turn for the worse.
The film wisely avoids any explanation of what the corridor is or where it came from. Trying to define this thing rationally would most likely end up travelling to Ridiculousville. The “what” isn’t important-it’s simply a plot device that puts the group under its allure. The corridor has the effect of unlocking the unused parts of the brain of anyone that enters it. In doing so it also “connects” the minds of group that enter it together, creating a semi hive mentality and psychic bond amongst the group. Since the human mind is wholly unprepared for this event, the brain essentially unravels. Think of the effect of a guitar string being wound too tight before it snaps and you have an idea of the effect of this construct. The end game of this device is to connect all living things under its wing.
It’s a cool concept if you don’t think too hard about things like why Tyler’s medication blocked its effects. I found it difficult to buy in to the idea that something a bit stronger than Tylenol could overpower an extra terrestrial entity hell-bent on melding the human minds in to one uber clan.
The aftermath of the friends’ trip to the woods play out back in the cabin in terrifying fashion. The Corridor provides jolting moments of terror. It’s not that the violence presented on screen is far above and beyond the norm in this type of film. Rather, it’s the casual, almost relaxed way a group of lifelong friends tear in to one another that makes it riveting. Also, while it would usually be a kiss of death to say any part of a movie reminds one of The Fourth Kind, there’s an unnerving scene involving a videotaped message from the mother that provides a startling moment.
The disintegration of the group works because of the breezy interaction of the cast in the first two acts. The performances make it easy to buy in to the idea that they’re lifelong friends that have one another’s back, but also know what buttons to push to piss one another off. There’s an obvious tension as the group always has it in the back of their heads that Tyler might snap again. The film takes its time allowing these tensions and decades old grievances to boil over, making for a satisfying payoff.
Overall The Corridor is a solid entry in to the Sci Fi horror genre. It wears its influences on its sleeve (the aforementioned Event Horizon and the all male ensemble is reminiscent of The Thing) without feeling like its lifting directly from the source material. Strong performances across the board and a tension filled bloody third act make this an easy recommend. It’s currently making the festival rounds. Stay on the alert for a release date in the near future.