Toronto After Dark: The Demolisher review

From the trailer, The Demolisher looks like an action-packed vigilante story, but the reality is quite different. The Canadian production is written and directed by Gabriel Carrer, The Demolisher is a movie about a vigilante who is driven to extremes when his fragile mental state is pushed too far. It takes the shape of a character study as the protagonist is faced with the task of caring for his injured wife as his world falls apart. The entire movie is highly stylized and has a distinctly minimalist feel to the film making, which stands in stark contrast to the subject matter and doesn’t always work in the movie’s favour. The Demolisher takes an entirely new approach to genre film.

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The Demolisher has some of the coolest posters!

Carrer is a self-professed lover of old slasher and stalker movies, so it should come as no surprise to find elements and inspirations from movies like Halloween in The Demolisher. The unstoppable vigilante juggernaut and his intensely violent outbursts propel the movie, but the action is too spread out and its absence is felt. Most of the movie centers around the Demolisher’s true self, Bruce (Ry Barrett), Samantha (Taina Nori), and Marie (Jessica Vano) as they face the complexities that life has thrown at them. While interesting, The Demolisher has flaws. The editing is choppy and at times makes the story feel disconnected and the movie moves at a strange pace sometimes propelling itself forwards then slowing down to a crawl. There are also a number of unresolved plot points that distract from the rest of the movie. But it’s not all bad. The action scenes are visceral and satisfying, and the actor’s silence is filled by a phenomenal score by Glen Nicholls who is known for mixing tracks for such talent as Prodigy and The White Lies. The score is fun and fast paced, driving the plot forward and often acting as a character itself.

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Seriously though, the posters are amazing.

While The Demolisher offers an interesting perspective on the effects of rage on an already stressed mind, it struggles to maintain its intensity. The actors manage to keep the audiences interest through long periods of silence, with the help of the thrilling score, and it shows Toronto off impressively. But it struggles to find the right pace and its disjointed editing is at best, jarring. To truly examine an unhinged man’s delicate state of mind, The Demolisher needs to tighten up its story and revisit the editing room; as it is, it stands to vanish into the obscurity of so many other Canadian films.

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Final Thoughts

The Demolisher is a great concept, but struggles in its execution as often as it succeeds. Unfortunately, it's shortcomings are enough to effect the story. However, its character driven plot and uniquely minimal approach to film making merit a viewing for anyone who is curious about it.

Overall Score 3.4

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