Itís a year since the mother of 25-year-old James Duke passed away, and going through boxes of possessions she left behind, he finds himself hungering to learn more about her life, and about the grandparents sheís cut him off from since early childhood. When James contacts them to arrange a visit, his grandmother welcomes him enthusiastically. His grandfather, however, doesnít, and neither do some of the locals in their small town of Ste-Harmonie. Resentful stares and tense whispers follow behind James as he seeks to learn more about his roots, and his grandparentís jumpy and often inexplicable behaviour suggests that there are secrets deeply buried in the Duke family history, and that those around him would prefer to see them stay that way. But the cold-eyed neighbours arenít the only ones whispering Ė voices seem to drift through the Duke cornfields, and strange occurrences at night feed Jamesís suspicions that the roots of the Duke mystery may lie beyond the realm of the living.
Inspired by little-known but deeply tragic events in the foggy history of our own province, The Descendant, the debut feature by Montreal filmmaker Philippe Spurrell, is an eerie and remarkably effective mystery with an effective, grounded supernatural twist. Showcasing how successful an effort in independent cinema can be when created with clarity, care and determination, this sharp, meticulously crafted work, shot entirely in gorgeous 35mm, breaks away from overcooked horror-thriller conventions and finds untapped narrative power in restraint, in suggestion and signals all the more notable in their understatement. A capable cast (Jim Reid, as the elder Mr. Duke, is especially good) and the ominous musical score by David Kristian further bolster Spurrellís auspicious offering.
Hosted by Director Philippe Spurrell
Director: Philippe Spurrell
Screenplay: Philippe Spurrell, Joel A. Miller
Cast: Tadhg McMahon, Jim Reid, Ilona Garcen, Rose Ryan, Brewster Griffin, Rob Di Loreto, Zeny Domond, Phil Harrison, Christopher Piggins
Producers: Philippe Chabot, David Rigby & Philippe Spurrell