Montreal Dead End (2018) [Fantasia Fest 2018]

Montreal is sort of infamous for its roadwork and potholes… One day, a pothole grows to frightening size and oozes a sort of gas. Soon after, people in various neighborhoods around town are starting to feel this gas’ effects, turning into violent people and zombies, switching bodies, meeting monsters and other oddities.

This anthology film is directed by 18 directors for its 15 segments with a slew of writers and all from an original idea from Remi Frechette. The film’s segments are more or less even in quality with the stories varying from the scary to the more comedic and their style being hit or miss depending on each viewer. The segments being so numerous leads to them being short to extremely short, giving some of them a good boost of creativity by forcing the story in so short of a timeframe while not giving enough time to others needing more time to be fully fledged stories. The film is an interesting idea on the whole and the way it’s written and directed is decently done and decently entertaining.

The cast here is numerous with about 60 actors in the cast, most of which will not be familiar to anyone outside of Quebec or the French-speaking world, so their appeal will vary on each viewer’s mileage with Quebec entertainment. That being said, the cast in general is good and shows the right amount of talent to pull off their few minutes on screen each.

The film as a whole is well-shot and the effects, may they be practical or computerized, are well-done and of a good level quality throughout. The way each neighborhood is shot makes it become a bit like an extra character, with its own personality and style, showing bits and pieces of the city that residents and regular visitors will recognize and giving those who have never been or visited very little a better idea of the city itself. On a side note, having the Metro Beaudry and The Village as two separate vignettes felt like a bit of a cheat as the metro station is in that neighborhood.

On the whole, Montreal Dead End is a decently fun anthology but a bit of a disappointment having seen what Quebec horror filmmakers have come up with in the past few years. It’s a tame film with some gore and some violence, but none of the stories are given enough time to develop and thus never become fully fledged in a truly satisfying way. It’s fun yes, but something feels like it’s missing.

Fantasia 2018 runs from July 12th to August 2nd, 2018.