Originally a six-part series on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) streaming service APTN Lumi, folk horror short Shadow of the Rougarou (Canada, 2022) was presented in its 40-minute entirety at Toronto’s Blood in the Snow Film Festival. This exciting work combines creature-feature and supernatural elements with traditional Métis mythology.
As the story set in 1885 opens, we are introduced to Métis-Cree fur trapper Sâkowêw (Morgan Holmstrom), returning to the area where she grew up. She finds an odd small doll in the woods and begins having visions. In flashbacks, she is shown as a young teen (Isabel Deroy-Olson) learning to hunt with her grandfather and also crossing paths with a deadly rougarou — a shape-shifting, werewolf-like beast. As she encounters a violent group of wolf hunters who are not shy about letting their racial prejudices known, she befriends Métis man Bruno (Cody Kearsley), who works for the hunters. Soon enough, both Sâkowêw and the wolfers will find out that the rougarou is the alpha hunter in the woods.
Director Jordan Waunch has crafted a period piece chiller that addresses social and historical issues with engaging drama and thrilling horror set pieces. The feeling is highly authentic throughout, from the performances to the costumes to the use of Indigenous languages — Shadow of the Rougarou is in English, French, Michif, and Cree, with English subtitles. Gorgeously framed and shot, with a fine balance of drama and horror along with a cool monster design, Shadow of the Rougarou is a highly recommended work.(4 / 5)
Shadow of the Rougarou screened as part of Blood in the Snow Film Festival, which took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from November 21–26, 2022, with a Super Channel lineup on the same dates.