When Europeans made the long and dangerous journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the new world, they took their religion with them. Indeed, in many cases the more puritanical elements saw it as a great opportunity to practice their beliefs in peace. Numerous communities sprung up, drawn together by their piety. Often becoming fanatical and closing themselves off from the outside world. Passing down through generations. This is the case in The Family.
Somewhere in Canada in the 1800s. A family lives on an isolated farm, ruled over by their zealous Father (Nigel Bennett) and equally stern Mother (Toni Ellwand). He demands obedience and reverence to a divine creator and their lives are devoted to serving him. When the youngest, Elijah, collapses with exhaustion, he is banished outside the boundary they cannot cross. Left to certain death in the dangerous unknown. When a new daughter (Keana Lyn) is brought in to replace him, Caleb (Benjamin Charles Watson) starts to question his father’s authority.
The Family is a horror film which revels in an atmosphere of implicit fear, conjured up by a mix of stark cinematography and a taut and minimalist script. Dan Slater’s film works so well because it keeps many elements shrouded in mystery. It resembles another film, which will remain nameless for obvious reasons, but aside from that there’s much to admire in The Family. A tense and enigmatic period chamber piece.
The Family screens at Grimmfest Easter.