Review: Charlevoix Street

Written and directed by LaTracey McDowell, who also stars in the film, for some eerie reason there are no children that live on Charlevoix Street except for Elizabeth and Donnie’s two young children Simona and Von. When Von suddenly goes missing one evening, all hell breaks loose in the community, and Charlevoix Street’s deadly secrets are revealed. Also starring: M.B. Motts, Robert Vasquez, Brooklyn Nicholson, Schuyler Carson and Beulah Mae Miller.

Putting a supernatural conspiracy and complicated family histories at the centre of your story is a good start for a horror but it’s also a challenging choice to pull off. Unfortunately, Charlevoix Street isn’t quite up to that challenge, it doesn’t deepen its mystery enough to justify the roads it takes. It has the beginnings of different themes but none of them are explored to a satisfying degree. It also struggles to set a key heart or lead to the story, a reason to get behind it, there’s no true protagonist and those that there are tread murky moral waters. On top of that it’s attempting to bring through a religious vein which ends up as more of a distraction, rather than going hand in hand with the supernatural stylings.

There’s then an issue of building the type of atmosphere needed for this story, giving a hint of darkness, thrill and consequences but it sadly doesn’t come together. Admittedly, it is another difficult challenge that LaTracey McDowell set herself, on a minimal budget it’s very hard to capture that intensity and dense air. It also has difficulty in a technical sense, the sound mixing is extremely messy and makes getting the volume comfortable for viewing quite difficult. It also misses out on making key moments convincing, particularly those with gunshots, they’re not aggressive enough to work.

The story is split between key characters, it moves with a definitely ensemble style. There’s a back and forth quality in how it moves between its characters, sharing the attention between them. In the same sense, none of the performances stand out, their quality is consistent throughout. In more highly emotional moments, the cast do struggle to hit a sincere note, leaning into melodrama rather than intensity. It’s a weakness which does enhance that struggle to build an atmosphere.

Charlevoix Street tries to tell a twisty tale of family and the supernatural but doesn’t dig deep enough. The story needed a bigger development to pull in the audience, missing a leading influence to put your investment behind it. Visually, it plays things simply and doesn’t give itself the space or variety to create a captivating atmosphere. It has an interesting idea but the execution lacks focus, needing to create a clearer, growing path through its story.

Verdict: ✯✯ | 4/10

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