When I saw that The Strings was produced by the same beautiful soul that brought us the two masterpieces, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House and The Blackcoat’s Daughter, it immediately jumped to the top of my queue. I was not disappointed in the slightest.
This is the kind of EXTREMELY SLOW BURN horror film that’s becoming a bit of a thorn in the side of so-called fans of the genre, and admittedly, there are going to be many who will flat-out loathe it. They’re being asked to slow down for an atmospheric mood piece, and that’s like asking the unthinkable for a generation that thinks that it’s perfectly acceptable to watch a film at 2x the normal speed on their iPhones.
Thankfully, for those who are willing to sit and surrender, The Strings will prove to be a rewarding cinematic experience. It doesn’t necessarily break any new ground, and it relies heavily on familiar tropes, but what it does, it does incredibly well.
This atmospheric mood piece follows a musician named Catherine (played by real life musician, Teagan Johnston, of Little Coyote fame) who goes to spend some solo time at her aunt’s house on Prince Edward Island to work on some new material. Still reeling from a recent breakup from her boyfriend, the inspiration comes in spurts, and there are many entrancing sequences of Catherine setting up her studio and layering new pieces together, aided by her ethereal vocals.
During a photo shoot, she ventures into an abandoned house with her new crush to take some snapshots, and it seems that afterwards, an entity has followed her home. From this point on, Catherine begins to see and hear things, including a shadow figure that begins to aggressively stalk her.
Answers don’t come easily in The Strings, which is what I loved about it. It is open to multiple interpretations, incredibly vague, and has moody haunted house aesthetic running through its veins for days. Like Pretty Thing and Blackcoat’s Daughter before it, it is a film that lives and breathes on mood and atmosphere. If you’re looking for a plot, if you’re looking for coherence, please, don’t look here. All others, give this small treasure a chance.
A fantastic directorial debut from Ryan Glover. Can’t wait to see what he does next!
The Strings is streaming on Shudder.