Published Apr 22, 2020Movie theatres are closed and many Hollywood films have been significantly delayed. While that's unquestionably disappointing, it also creates an opening for viewers to pay a little more attention to some of the great Canadian films being released digitally this spring. In fact, today is National Canadian Film Day, so it's the perfect time to celebrate some of the best new films from our home and native land.
Some of the films listed below have already found success on the 2019 festival circuit, and now are getting wide release through digital platforms, while others are brand new on the scene. Whether you're looking for a freaky gore-fest, an emotional drama or something a little more lighthearted, these films are sure to be a bright spot in your isolation viewing.
Directed by Geordie Sabbagh
Pacific Northwest Pictures
Digital release date: March 17
Legalization has made life a whole lot easier for cannabis consumers, but legal weed has taken a serious toll on weed dealers. Canadian Strain explores this question, following a dealer who campaigned for legalization but now finds herself run out of business by the capitalist machine. It deals with a timely issue — and the film's funny jokes and heartfelt friendships make it as enjoyable as it is insightful.
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
Directed by Elle-Maija Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn
Digital release date: March 24
The Body Remembers is an intimate glimpse into the lives of two Indigenous women, exploring their connections while also highlighting their differences. Although Áila and Rosie's lives are starkly contrasted, this starkly realistic journey through Vancouver fosters mutual empathy. We follow the women via long shots and a naturalistic feel, making this a nuanced character study well worth watching.
Directed by Jeff Barnaby
Digital release date: April 28
Is there really anything new that can be done with the zombie genre? Apparently yes, since Blood Quantum channels the classic attributes of the genre while weaving in Indigenous storytelling and messages about reconciliation. It's got a brilliant premise, as a zombie outbreak strikes humanity but doesn't affect Indigenous people, making the local reserve an oasis of safety.
Directed by the Soska Sisters
Digital release date: April 28
A remake of David Cronenberg's 1977 body horror classic, this update from the Soska Sisters (Jen and Sylvia) begins as a disturbing body horror film about insecurity and disfigurement before taking a campy, zombie-like twist. With its portrayal of a public health crisis, it's oddly prescient — right down to an outspoken blowhard who says it's nothing more than the flu.
Disappearance at Clifton Hill
Directed by Albert Shin
Digital release date: May 5
Niagara proves to be the perfect setting for a neo-noir, as Disappearance at Clifton Hill explores a long-forgotten mystery amidst the urban decay of tacky casinos and crumbling motels. Full of quirky locals and hokey tourist attractions, this investigative story about a decades-old alleged kidnapping highlights Niagara's charms while giving it a gloomy twist that's equal parts poignant and sinister.