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The Family

Canada 2021
produced by
Adam Booth, Carlo Liconti (executive), Cristian de la Rosa (executive), Bo Ko (executive) for West Film, Leader Media
directed by Dan Slater
starring Nigel Bennett, Benjamin Charles Watson, Jenna Warren, Toni Ellwand, Keana Lyn, Yasmin MacKay, Onyx Spark
written by Dan Slater, Adam Booth, music by Dillon Baldassero, special makeup effects and prosthetics by Carlos Henriques/The Butcher Shop

review by
Mike Haberfelner

An isolated farm, somewhere in rural Canada: Siblings Caleb (Benjamin Charles Watson), Abigail (Jenna Warren) and mute Evelyn (Yasmin MacKay) have never left the perimeters of their parents' land and have thus never known another life than that on the farm, so they're not at all bothered by their father's (Nigel Bennett) reactionary religious beliefs and also follow them, and it's normal for them that their mother (Toni Ellwand) carries a gun with her all the time, also to keep them in line, and they even take it as God given that their father drags their young brother Elijah (Onyx Spark) away into the woods for who knows what punishment to not be seen again after he has overstepped one too many lines with their father. Caleb eventually becomes old enough to question things, initially to Abigail's dismay - but then father brings home Mary (Keana Lyn) as Caleb's bride-to-be, and Caleb, whose hormones the new arrival sends racing, quickly falls in line again, which is even more to Abigail's dismay. Caleb and Mary are quick to take a liking to one another, and their wedding can't come soon enough - but performing the wedding, Caleb claims he has received a message from their God, who has claimed Mary as his own bride, and since Caleb is God's proxy on earth ... After this, nothing is the same, Caleb grows more and more rebellious while Mary realizes she has some (sexual) power over father to improve her sexual position, the girls are just shocked by their father's obvious sexual abuse, and mother is more than a bit jealous. Things come to a head when Caleb openly confronts father and is only overpowered by mother's gun and father threatening to drown Abigail in his stead. The boy's brutally punished for his indiscretion, but the more brute force father uses on his children, the more his power over them actually slips, and it's only a matter of time before they begin to openly rebel ...


A pretty strong and disturbing piece of folk horror that really gets under one's skin as while the cult (including its god) the family belongs to is totally fictional, its brainwashing patterns and hierarchic powerplays, including its psycho-sexual undercurrents, fell frightfully real. And a very subtle direction that puts atmosphere over spectacle and makes the best of its impressive backdrops, only helps to bring the plots creepiness across, while a strong cast keeps things eerily relatable, all of which makes this a film not easy to forget - in a good but haunting way.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD