Monday, December 01, 2014

Sean Kelly

BITS 2014: Black Mountain Side

blackmountainside

Professor Peter Olsen (Michael Dickson) flies up to a remote archaeological site in Northern Canada to write a report to get the team, which includes Myles Jensen (Shane Twerdun), Francis Monroe (Carl Toftfelt), and Robert Michael Gyles (Marc Anthony Williams), more funding for their expedition.  The team has uncovered a strange structure, which dates backs thousands of years.  However, it quickly becomes apparent that the team may have uncovered something else as well.  As time goes on and contact with the outside world is lost, paranoia grows, as these men try to find out what they uncovered.

With its snowbound arctic setting, it can be quite easy to compare Black Mountain Side to John Carpenter’s The Thing.  It turns out that this is a valid comparison, but not in the way that you might think.  The film is less about tentacled alien creatures and more about the paranoia and distrust that grows among these archaeologists, as they become stranded at this camp over the course of a month.  The film has a very slow burning tension, with much of the first half of the film coming off much more like a standard drama than a horror film.

Black Mountain Side keeps it ambiguous what exactly these archaeologists have unearthed.  It could be a sinister creature, an ancient virus, or just plain old cabin fever.  What does matter is that these men begin to distrust each other more as the days go by.  In addition to being pretty successful as a horror film, Black Mountain Side features some excellent cinematography, with some great wide shots of the artic landscapes.  The film also makes the decision not to have a traditional film score, which lets the tension build at its own pace. Altogether, Black Mountain Side is a pretty well done arctic thriller.

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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).