Skip to main content
film review
Open this photo in gallery:

Joey Klein's opioid-crisis drama Castle in the Ground is available on-demand starting May 15.Courtesy of Game Theory Films

  • Castle in the Ground
  • Written and directed by Joey Klein
  • Starring Imogen Poots, Alex Wolff and Neve Campbell
  • Classification 14A; 105 minutes


3.5 out of 4 stars

Tenderness is the operative word for Canadian filmmaker Joey Klein, who loves to direct actors with sensitivity and understanding the way Michael Bay loves to explode giant trucks. Masquerading as a crime drama about the ongoing opioid crisis, Klein’s second feature, Castle in the Ground, is actually a delicate coming-of-age movie about living in pain, exemplary for how he documents how the smallest gestures (your mom’s hand ruffling through your hair as you drive; her shallow breathing as you lie together in bed) will haunt you long after someone’s gone.

Read more on filmmaker Joey Klein, and his long road to Canadian indie-film success

Alex Wolff stars as a young man who has skipped university to tend to his dying mother (Neve Campbell), who relies on OxyContin for her pain management. The bane of their existence is the hard-partying opioid addict across the hall (Imogen Poots, doing deeply committed character work), who slowly lures him into a seedy underworld, if only so she can borrow his phone. While some of the more conventional genre beats could use more specificity, Klein gets such wrenching, charismatic performances that you’d forgive him of anything.

This film will stay with you for a long, long time.

Castle in the Ground is available digitally on-demand beginning May 15

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.