Toronto After Dark Report: The Demolisher

Who’s in it: Ry Barrett, Tianna Nori, Jessica Vano

Who’s behind it: Written and directed by Gabriel Carrer

Who’ll love it: Toronto horror buffs with a taste for retro flourishes, and misguided vigilantism.

What it’s about: Following a violent altercation with a bizarre, culty gang, policewoman Samantha (Tianna Nori) is left paralyzed in the care of her husband Bruce (Ry Barrett). Even more devastated than his wife, Bruce becomes The Demolisher, a vicious vigilante, who wanders the streets of Toronto in riot gear, looking to get revenge on his wife’s attackers. In a severe case of mistaken identity, he eventually narrows his focus on Marie (Jessica Vano), an innocent woman suffering from injuries of her own. This results in an epic late-night chase—that pushes both attacker and victim to their limit.

Why you should see it: A rare case of glossy genre cinema playing out on the streets of Toronto, The Demolisher should have particular novelty value for those attending Toronto After Dark. Writer-director Gabriel Carrer embraces an unapologetically grim tone—Bruce is boiling with rage from beginning to end—keeping all traces of humour and playfulness to a minimum. He never manages to reveal much about his protagonist’s inner life, preferring physical manifestations of his anger over more nuanced alternatives. As a result, the overall film feels a little thin, but at its best, The Demolisher is an intriguing exercise in moody genre filmmaking that offers pleasing flashes of the past—and some genuine promise for the future.

When you can see it: Sunday, October 18 at 9:30pm at Scotiabank Theatre. Tickets available here.

Check out the trailer and the poster below.