WINTERTIDE is a sci-fi horror movie with a low budget, but a high production value. The cast is fairly small and it has a slow-burn quality to it. Also, it really gets under your skin. It did for me, anyway. Read our full Wintertide movie review here!
WINTERTIDE is a new low-budget genre hybrid of a movie. Officially, it tends to be called a horror movie, which it absolutely is. However, as it’s set in an alternative world with zombie-like humans, there’s a certain sci-fi quality to it as well.
Here at Heaven of Horror, we always like checking out movies made with lower budgets as well. This is often where the passion is. Movies with a famous cast can sometimes fall flat and be without any kind of passion. That just isn’t the case, when people work with smaller budgets and much more heart. This movie is a great example of that.
Continue reading our Wintertide movie review below. Find it on VOD from November 14, 2023.
When the world got dark and small
In Wintertide, we follow the life of Beth. She lives in a world where the sun doesn’t shine. We see her writing a new number on the board by her door every day. When the story opens, she’s up to days in the 90s since the sun was last seen.
Of course, there are places in the world where the sun is gone for a long time. Those same places also have periods of time where the sun never sets. Wintertide is not a movie that takes place in such a place.
Instead, it’s a small town in Canada, covered in snow and darkness, where very few normal human inhabitants are left. Most have either left the town or have been hit by a form of depression that turns them into empty, zombie-like shadows of who they were.
When these “empty people” wander around, they’re called “Strays” and are rounded up much like a stray animal. They are fairly harmless but can get a bit aggressive. Beth works as a volunteer looking for these strays, so they can be picked up and stay in a safe location. A place that resembles a mental hospital.
As the story evolves, we also see Beth coming to a strange realization. She keeps talking about her dreams, and it seems she’s actually entering a form of alternative dimension through these dreams. This just might be the secret as to why she can remain healthy through the endless winter. It seems she’s the only person managing to do so without taking pills.
Niamh Carolan stars
I wasn’t familiar with Niamh Carolan prior to watching her star in this horror movie. Now, I hope I’ll get to see her in more again soon. She has a very organic and strong presence that works perfectly for the character of Beth.
I kept thinking she reminded me of other actors. Ultimately, I decided that Niamh Carolan is very much herself. I mean, obviously, she is, but I realized that she just has a strange familiarity to her. The same experience hit me when I first saw actors like Florence Pugh, Jessie Buckley, or Breeda Wool in roles early on.
I’m not saying that Niamh Carolan will have a career like any of those women. However, with some strong roles in the right movies, she could easily be someone we’ll get to see a lot more in the years to come.
Watch Wintertide on VOD now!
John Barnard is the director and co-writer of the screenplay for Wintertide. The other writer is Carrie-May Siggins, and she previously wrote a few episodes of the Heartland Homicide series, which John Barnard then directed.
The darkness of the world in Wintertide is palpable and seeing how the few remaining human beings act and react was extremely intriguing to me. There are plenty of questions that aren’t answered about the how, why, and when of it all.
And yet, the ending does deliver a conclusion that feels very much in line with the tone of the movie. It may be a tad longer than it had to be, but then again, the slow-burn vibe is perfectly in line with the world it plays out in.
Wintertide is out on VOD from November 14, 2023.
Director: John Barnard
Writers: John Barnard, Carrie-May Siggins
Stars: Niamh Carolan, Solange Sookram, John B. Lowe, Jeremy Walmsley, Sydney Sabiston, Marina Stephenson Kerr, Colleen Furlan, Jesse Nobess, Josh Strait
Beth, a volunteer watch person of an isolated northern city battles a plague of depression that transforms the few remaining residents into empty, zombie-like automatons. She discovers that by entering an alternative dimension through her own dreams, she’s able to stave off the illness during the long, possibly endless winter. But will her power be enough to sustain her?