CFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Wintertide’

Posted in CFF 2023, Festival Coverage by - April 01, 2023
CFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Wintertide’

This year’s CFF closing night film, screening simultaneously in theater and on Super Channel on Saturday, April 1st, 2023, is the slow-burn dramatic piece with horror overtones, Wintertide. Veteran writer-director John Bernard takes us into an apocalyptic near future where he attempts to blur the reality and dream state of the surroundings and how the pair can interact and affect the survivors around them, with very mixed results.

In a future where the sun has not risen in nearly 100 days, we meet Beth (Niamh Carolan), a volunteer ‘night watch’ person as she heads out for her shift. You see, people have started to become spaced out, zombie-like creatures that wander aimlessly. Struggling with the isolation of this new world, Beth throws herself into a string of meaningless affairs to just feel something. But after she discovers that one of her former flings has become one of the rambling hordes the day after sleeping with her, Beth starts to discover that she may not just be a bystander to this mess. And as the walkers start to become more aggressive with her, she knows she has to find answers.

Audiences will immediately feel that Wintertide has grand ideas that it wants to explore but sadly the film doesn’t have a coherent enough script or strong enough pacing to effectively deliver on those promises. The film is numbingly slow and after taking the whole first hour just to get to the main inciting event that propels the final act, it also sadly comes to a very underwhelming conclusion. The saving grace is a winning performance from Niamh Carolan, it’s just too bad she’s so easily better than the material presented to her here, and it becomes very evident to the audience as well by the end.

  • Release Date: 4/1/2023
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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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