Alberta chill: Locally shot horror film gives Irish newcomer a perfect showcase

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All of which leads to a good deal of bloodshed and perhaps some shifting sympathies among viewers. It also makes Audrey a particularly intriguing and ambiguous character.

“I think in any story, and in life in general, everyone can be a villain in specific circumstances and I think everyone can be the hero of their story in specific circumstances,” Reynolds says.  

In 2013, filmmaker Lee was working at Calgary’s Model Milk when he met and befriended producer Gianna Isabella, a Lethbridge native who was working as an assistant on Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Alberta-shot blockbuster The Revenant at the time. She attended the festival screening of Empyrean in 2015 and was impressed by Lee’s stylish, black-and-white debut. When he showed her the screenplay for what would become The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw, she signed on as a producer. While the plan to shoot the film half in Ireland and half in Canada was eventually abandoned, the cast is a mix of Canadian talent such as Don McKellar and Jared Abrahamson, local thespians such as David LeReaney, Tom Carey and Barb Mitchell and Irish performers such as Walker, Reynolds and Sean McGinley. 

From the film The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw. Courtesy, Route 504 PR.
From the film The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw. Courtesy, Route 504 PR. jpg

The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw began a limited theatrical run in Canada on Oct. 9 in nine Canadian cities, including Calgary, and has so far earned mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter called it a “handsome-looking sophomore effort”; the Boston Herald praised Lee for having a “keen sense of what to show and what not to show to build fear and suspense, a talent few directors have these days”; while the Gate.ca called it an “austere, elevated and still sufficiently gruesome Canadian horror flick” and a “good example of a movie that steals from the best while still carving out an identity of its own.”

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