DISAPPEARANCE AT CLIFTON HILL (2019)
Canadian mystery opens with a family outing at a lake where little Abby (Mikayla Radan) thinks she’s witnessed a kidnapping. Twenty-five years later, an adult Abby (Tuppence Middleton) returns to Niagara Falls to receive her inheritance, after the death of her mother. Still haunted by what she saw, she begins to investigate. Abby finds a young boy (Colin McLeod) did disappear around that time, though the case was strangely determined a suicide, even without a body. Now Abby teams with a local conspiracy theorist (David Cronenberg) and starts digging into the town’s past to find out the truth…and there are some that may not like the past being disturbed.
Offbeat, indie mystery is well directed by Albert Shin from his script with James Schultz. It’s not your run-of-the-mill mystery, as Abby has her own issues and there are reasons her sister (Hannah Gross from Joker), or the police, aren’t in a hurry to believe her. There is a web of intrigue, she is slowly unraveling, that involves a local businessman (Eric Johnson), a shady couple (Elizabeth Saunders and Maxwell McCabe-Lokos) and the boy’s own parents, The Moulins (Marie-Josée Croze and Paulino Nunes), who are famous area magicians. Just when we…and Abby…think we have all the answers, Shin pulls the rug out from under us and changes our entire perception of the whos, whats, and whys. Like the Moulin’s act, nothing is as it appears. It’s methodically paced and moody, but the performances are very good, especially from lead Tuppence Middleton and David Cronenberg, who is usually behind the camera. The characters are refreshingly eclectic. Not perfect, but engaging and keeps you involved in Abby’s investigation. Available on streaming outlets such as Amazon Prime and Vudu.