The Dark Hours Paul Fox

For a distinctly Canadian horror film, The Dark Hours is decidedly good. The Feature Film Project gave long-time Canadian television director Paul Fox an opportunity to stretch his muscles by executive producing this labour of love.

In only 80 minutes, Fox involves real characters with very human problems. Dr. Samantha Goodman (Kate Greenhouse) works in a mental ward for dangerous sexual offenders; she also has an incurable brain tumour. When she informs her husband and sister, they're more concerned with flirting and sneaking off to enjoy private moments together. The psychological issues between these three drive the rest of the bloody happenings.

Harlan Pyne (Aidan Devine), a sadistic sociopath and a patient of Goodman's, shows up with a naïve protégé in tow and together they subject the three to a series of humiliating and psychologically revealing games. As Pyne asks Goodman patronising questions like, "How does this make you feel?" it's strangely satisfying to watch a mental patient exact his revenge on a cold psychiatrist. Devine has a recognisable Canadian presence in the movie and his sadistic charm should keep viewers staying up late to watch this one on cable for years to come.

In the final moments, the lines between reality and drug-induced delusion become unclear. Some might find the twist unnecessary and aggravating in a tight psychological thriller that works so well on its own, but as long as you're not taking the film too seriously the opaque ending is icing on the cake. (Capri)