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Disappearance at Clifton Hill focuses on Abby (British actress Tuppence Middleton) as she returns to Niagara Falls to settle family affairs.Ian Watson/Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

  • Disappearance at Clifton Hill
  • Directed by Albert Shin
  • Written by Albert Shin and James Schultz
  • Starring Tuppence Middleton, Hannah Gross and David Cronenberg
  • Classification 14A; 100 minutes

Rating:

3.5 out of 4 stars

If ever there was a setting crying out for cinematic exploitation, it’s the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. A tacky tourist wonderland that barely masks the grit of a company town gone to seed, the current state of the area is an ideal staging ground for a nasty little neo-noir or tight psychological thriller. Fortunately, director Albert Shin has taken up the challenge, setting his delightfully twisty new mystery in the heart of the splashy-yet-trashy neighbourhood.

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Focusing on Abby (British actress Tuppence Middleton) as she returns to the Falls to settle family affairs, Shin’s film has great fun with expectations, from subverting an early-on romance to painting his lead into extremely tight narrative corners. As Abby falls into a rabbit-hole conspiracy involving a missing boy, greedy developers, French-Canadian magicians and a local podcaster played by David Cronenberg (!), Disappearance at Clifton Hill becomes just as thrilling and disturbing as its titular strip of haunted houses and fading-fast motels.

Disappearance at Clifton Hill opens Feb. 28