If There's a Hell Below

Nov 16 - Nov 17, 2016

(Nathan Williams, US, 2016, 94 min)

Director in attendance Nov. 17!

Abe is on the story of the century, holding in his hands the scoop to make him a world-renowned journalist. A woman claiming to work for national security’s secret service has accepted to meet him and hand over compromising information. Their meeting takes place in the middle of nowhere, on a road that cuts through a huge field. When he gets there, Abe notices that his informer, Debra, seems to be on guard. She goes through painstaking measures to make sure that she can trust him. It quickly becomes evident that her caution is well warranted. A distant car is keeping an eye on Abe and Debra’s every move. The special agent fears the worst — that one of her terrifying adversaries has tracked her down. So begins a frantic game of cat and mouse that will leave no one unscathed.

The serenity surrounding a sunlit clearing quickly subsides in If There's a Hell Below, the remarkable debut feature by American Nathan Williams. His minimal approach to the thriller genre permits him to create a climate of paranoia so paralyzing that it’s almost asphyxiating. Dismissing spectacle, he captivates his audience by stringing along powerful images, exercising an astute use of silences and disconcerting dialogue filled with double entendres. This somber approach defies all expectations as its seemingly simple mystery masks an unsolvable conspiratorial complexity. One truth always hides another in this innovative and undeniably beautiful film noir. Filled with bone-chilling tension, this unexpected yet successful amalgamation of Alfred Hitchcok and Rafaël Ouellet is definitely an exemplary achievement in directing.

— Simon Laperrière, Fantasia International Film Festival


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