L’Inhumain Image

I have always liked horror movies and am nuts about Canadian productions. Plus, I’ve recently grown fond of French films and am always ready for more Indigenous flicks. So it’s no surprise that writer/director Jason Brennan’s French-Canadian horror title L’Inhumain got my jolly going overtime.

Dr. Mathieu Cote (Samian) is a respected brain surgeon with a loving wife, Julie (Veronique Beaudet), and a young son, Lucas (Louis Gallant). Julie is constantly trying to get Mathieu to take the family to visit his parents in the Anishinaabe territory, but he never wants to. Under the surface of his perfect life, the doctor’s having an affair with a co-worker, Maude (Jeanne Roux-Cote), and is taking pills. His hands start shaking, and he’s been having disturbing dreams. He starts slipping at work to the point where a patient dies and is put on leave.

“…the doctor starts seeing glimpses of a Wendigo…”

Mathieu is then informed his father has passed. Going back to the reservation, he’s haunted by memories from a night in 1985 when he was a kid (Odeshkun Thusky). That night he heard noises in the shed and found a creature bathed in mist devouring a deer carcass that had been hanging. While consoling his mother, Johanne (Sonia Vigneault), the doctor starts seeing glimpses of a Wendigo (Angela McIlroy-Wagar), an evil spirit from Indigenous folklore that feeds endlessly, just like the one in the shed. When he heads out to a lake in the woods to spread the ashes, he starts to see mist rise up on the water and start closing in on him.

Brennan shot a lot of L’Inhumain in the Anishinaabe territory in the Upper Gatineau. The rugged country is absolutely awe-striking, captured with expertise by François Dutil. There are several highly expressionistic shots, including some with Samian framed in front of burning flames in a fireplace as he is in pain over losing his family. The quality of the presentation immediately raises this above your typical monster mash. The filmmaker states in the opening that this modern handling of the Wendigo legend is based on the stories he was told by elders in the Kitigan Zibi community. His script invests heavily in the personal drama of the characters while slowly introducing the horror elements.

L'Inhumain (2021)

Directed and Written: Jason Brennan

Starring: Samian, Veronique Beaudet, Louis Gallant, Jeanne Roux-Cote, Odeshkun Thusky, Angela McIlroy-Wagar, Sonia Vigneault, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

L'Inhumain Image

"…we need more films with indigenous high-earning professionals in them..."

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