Toronto After Dark 2013 Review: Solo

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Looking to escape a recent family tragedy, Gillian decides to take a summer job at Camp Kaya, even though she’s still on medication and prone to nightmares. Every new counselor and Camp Kaya is required to do a 2 day “solo” camping trip to demonstrate their survival skill qualifications. The two days are spent on a scenic island across the lake where a young camper was said to have gone missing decades ago. Though initially confident in her camping skills and looking forward to spending a little time by herself, Gillian soon discovers she is far from alone on the island when a helpful stranger and the camp director’s son both appear. An unsettling discovery soon leads them down a dark path and Gillian must figure out who to trust in order to get off the island alive.

It’s nice to see a bit of homegrown classic horror, what better way to showcase Canada’s natural wonders than with a psycho-in-the-wilderness movie? Solo isn’t free from flimsy plot points, but overall holds your attention from scene to scene, overall it maintains a suitable amount of suspense. Casting Annie Clark as the film heroine Gillian was by far director Isaac Cravit’s best decision. Clark is a beautiful young woman with a very healthy body image. Her physical appearance and the character’s complexity – Gillian displays humanity, compassion, ruthlessness, bravery, and vulnerability, combine to make her a fantastic protagonist and role model that audiences can root for. Budgetary constraints likely attributed the characters circling the same camp site on what appears to be a large island, but focus on the ominous score vs diegetic sound, and physical struggle instead of gushy flesh wounds provides a dimension of realism in its own way.

Is Solo essential Toronto After Dark viewing?

Yes, support Canadian film, and come out to see some local talent! Solo entertains without having to resort to kitsch, gore, and other over the top tactics, not a lot of films out there can make that claim.

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Ada Wong is a writer, traveler, jewelry-maker, tea connoisseur, and lost shoe photographer from Toronto who’s endlessly opinionated about everything — especially film. She would like Evan Rachel Wood to portray her in a partially-fictionalized bio pic, and for Woody Allen to write and direct it. Ada once made front page news with her favourite director Quentin Tarantino, her only regret is that it wasn’t for more scandalous reasons.

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