Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Canaries

My notes on the Welsh science fiction comedy.

After several prologues, set in Vietnam and Washington and with some time-dilation effects thrown in to add to the sense of cosmic scale, the bulk of this British sf comedy is set in Lower Cwmtwrch, Wales, on New Year’s Eve.  Local bloke Steve Dennis (Craig Russell), who’s been working in London as a DJ, holds a big party which is supposed to impress Nav (Richard Mylan) to invest in his scheme to start up a happening nightclub chain in the valleys … only not that many people show up, Steve is despised by locals who think he’s sold out by losing his accent and by the big city folks who think he’s a pushy clod, it rains a lot and an alien invasion takes place, represented by zombie-like folks in orange oilskins (which do get explained eventually) who lurch in and out, murdering folks slasher movie style.


At heart, it owes a lot to Edgar Wright – more perhaps to The World’s End than Shaun of the Dead – but it’s not quite as concentrated on his character interplay (people here tend to do their turns and get killed) or as vivid in the genre elements.  Eventually, however, it does start being oddly effective as a creepy horror movie – the alien possessees (abducted and brainwashed Norwegian fishermen) are an unsettling, simple menace, all the more so when the desperate battlers start recognising strangely familiar faces in the mix.  There’s a high casualty rate among Welsh comedy guest stars (Robert Pugh, Hannah Daniel, Steve Meo), and Steve is a stereotypically a useless bloke – leaving it to Nav’s sister Sunita (Sheena Bhattessa), who keeps saying she works in a travel agent’s when she’s actually in an X-Filesy anti-alien outfit, to be most effective in battling the time-scrambling invaders.  Written and directed by Peter Stray.

Here’s a trailer, look you.


3 thoughts on “FrightFest review – Canaries

  1. Hi Kim,
    Craig Russell here the producer of Canaries.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to watch our movie.
    I was wondering if you would please be so kind as to remove the [REDACTED] bit from your write up? Or maybe at the top mention ‘spoiler alert’?

    I hope you don’t mind my asking, we’re a small outfit trying to build an audience and we don’t want to put anyone off!

    Huge thanks for your time.



    Posted by Craig Russell | August 27, 2017, 2:49 pm
    • Done – Kim. I try to label things on my site as notes rather than reviews, but sometimes in the rush to get FrightFest covered a little too much information slips through.

      Posted by kimnewman | August 27, 2017, 6:47 pm


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