Eric ( Rob Raco) is the lead guitarist and writer for the rock band Sled Dog. They had a big hit Backfire a few years back but have not had a song that has found heavy rotation on the airways or top of the download list recently. Eric is feeling the pressure and after talking to one of his idols Emerson Gilmour decided to follow in his footsteps and take a canoe trip down a Sacred First Nations spiritual root where the shamans traditionally sent their children. The guitarist hopeful the journey would spark his creative juices. His planned solo trip continues to get encroached, first by his bandmates Mitchell ( Josh Collins) the airy Jim Morrisonseq lead singer and gritty girl drummer Olivia (Samantha Carly) who is along for the ride to stop Eric from offing himself. Then April (Parmiss Sehat) a superfan camping on the river who Mithcell rolls up on a few moments after the trio set off. Eric has a map, five checkpoints he has to hit and and 4 tabs each of LSD that has to be dropped at the same specific time each night.
Things begin to go awry the first night. Eric passes out next to the river seemingly having recorded a great new piece of music that he doesn't remember. The crew beginning to see violet, orange coulors on the river while sensing a presence lurking just out of sight at the edge of the forest. The uncertainty of their situation quickly shifts to knowledge that the group is being watched and stocked. The friends journey changes from a leisurely trip of discovery to a race through the checkpoints to get to the highway and safety.
Director Nick Szostakiwskjy's follow up to Black Side Mountain again finding the survival in the outdoor elements the main theme. There the dead of winter in the Yukon was the palate, Here its the hight of summer in B.C. There a mysterious ancient virus is released as opposed to the appearance of shadowy creatures possibly brought on by tainted drugs.
Josh Collins leads the cast as Mitch. He is easy going, soft spoken, kind and willing to have a meaningful conversations with just about anyone. Rob Raco is a lot more moodier as Eric. He took it hard when his guitar hero did not like his music calling it uninspired. .Vowing to follow his path along a native right of passage to get out of the rut and create more depth in his art. Samantha Carly is the glue between the two. She is level, not getting to hight or low and may care more about the band that the other two combined. Szostakiwskjy's script does not dwell long on set up. The pace ticks up early building suspense marking the end of each act with a punch to the gut that will making the audience uncomfortable but if you're in the theatre to watch a film in this genre that is exactly how you want to feel.
*** Out of 4.
Hammer of the Gods | Nick Szostakiwskji | Canada | 2018 | 89 Minutes.
Tags: Rock Band, One Hit Wonder, B.C., Canoe Trip, Rite of Passage, Camp, Check Points, L.S.D, Cabin, Headache, Cigarettes