TIFF 2019 had plenty of big name releases hit the silver screen this year, but as usual there were several lower budget films playing as well. One of those films takes place in Niagara Falls, on the world famous Clifton Hill. The film is even named after the street. It’s a mystery/thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end, and if you have a chance to see it when it finally gets a wide release, it will be well worth your time.
Clifton Hill follows the story of a troubled young woman named Abby (Tuppence Middleton) who returns home to Niagara Falls following the death of her mother. She’s quickly reunited with her estranged sister to handle her mother’s estate, but the one thing they can’t agree on is selling the motel the family owns. As Abby takes the time to think things over, she starts remembering a scene from her childhood, where she believes she was witness to a kidnapping. She becomes obsessed with the memory, and starts digging deeper to figure out who the child was and who the kidnappers were. As her compulsive desire to find out the truth leads her astray, Abby discovers things just might not be what she thinks they are.
This type of movie is difficult to make without a strong lead actress, and Tuppence Middleton is just that. She takes charge of the character, and quickly convinces you that her way of thinking is the correct one. Her obsession becomes yours. David Cronenberg also does an great job playing a conspiracy theorist/podcast host named Walter. It almost seems like it was the role he as born to play. Part creepy, but also extremely convincing as he tells his version of the information he’s collected over the year. The twists and turns in the movie will keep your head spinning throughout, and by the end you will have had several different ideas as to how it will turn out. If you know Niagara Falls well, it’s also fun to watch for all the landmarks of the area.
Clifton Hill has been making the rounds at the film festivals so far, but should receive a wider theatrical release soon. When it does, it makes for a good night out, and it will be a topic of conversation among your friends long after it is over.