Don’t Say Its Name – Blood in the Snow 2021

Don't Say Its Name

Don’t Say Its Name – Blood in the Snow 2021

The small, snow-covered Indigenous community is about to see an upturn. Mining company WEC has just made an agreement for drilling on this tribal land, and it’s looking like everyone will benefit – except the land itself. Local activist Kharis Redwater is one of those protesting the deal when her voice is silenced in a hit-and-run that remains unsolved. So as WEC begins their assault on the land, the land itself retaliates against WEC and all those who support it. But for local peace officer Mary Stonechild (Madison Walsh) and Park Ranger Stacey Cole (Sera-Lys McArthur), the answer to this mystery lies in the traditions of their people and the vengeance-filled spirits that have haunted the land for generations, about which the people know one rule: don’t say its name.

The Review Was Originally Published as Part of My Coverage of Fantasia 2021

An indigenous community is tormented by a vengeful spirit in . Peace officer Mary Stonechild () is called in after local activist Kharis Redwater (Sheena Kaine) is killed in a hit and run, which absolutely devastates her mother Mary Lynn (Carla Fox). Shortly afterwards, a number of people begin turning up dead in gruesome ways and Mary deputizes park ranger Stacey Cole (), who has the expertise and firepower to track such a threat. It is soon discovered that the perpetrator is the vengeful spirit of Kharis, who is targeting anyone related or sympathetic to the mining company WEC, which just acquired a drilling agreement in the area.

Don't Say Its Name is a supernatural horror film from director and co-writer Rueben Martell, which is set in a snowbound Indigenous community, which is threatened by an incoming strip mine, which is coming in without proper approval from the community. After a number of individuals involved with the mining company WEC die brutal deaths, officer Mary Stonechild enlists the help of military veteran Stacey Cole (Sera-Lys McArthur), who along with local elder Carson (Julian Black Antelope), tracks the killer and discovers it to be the vengeful spirit of the recent murder Kharis Redwater. Trying to keep the supernatural element of this case a secret of white police office Adam (Justin Lewis), Beth and Stacey try to find a way to stop the spirit, especially after it sets its eyes on Beth's nephew Ben ().

Despite some low-quality special effects that leave a lot to be desired, Don't Say Its Name places Rueben Martell alongside Jeff Barnaby when it comes to developing horror films told from an Indigenous perspective. With the films' white characters depicted as either victims, villains, or just plain naive, the spiritual nature of Don't Say Its Name is never questioned by its protagonists, providing the film with a very unique perspective.

Don't Say Its Name is airing on Super Channel Fuse October 29, 2021, at 9:00 PM as part of the 2021 Blood in the Snow Film Festival

Trailer for Don't Say Its Name – Blood in the Snow 2021

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.