Gilbert Speaks on John Barnard’s “Wintertide”

We live in strange times, my friend. Covid has separated us into two groups: Those that will do everything to protect their neighbors, and those who are out for themselves. What would we do if we were thrown into a world of darkness and isolation? What group would you be in?


First, allow me to tell you that Wintertide premieres at the closing night of the Canadian Film Fest on April 1st (tickets available here.)The Canadian Film Fest is a non-profit organization, dedicated to the support of Canadian Independent films and cultivating emerging and established filmmaking talent. They also acknowledge the land which belongs to the First Nations and encourage their audiences to learn and acknowledge the territories of the First Nations. That statement alone made me eager to watch this film. So, let’s jump into the review.

Wintertide, which is a supernatural thriller, and a Farpoint Film Production, was written by John Barnard and Carrie-May Siggins, and directed by John Barnard. It stars Niamh Carolan, Jeremy Walmsley, Darcy Fehr, Solange Sookram, and Michael O’Sullivan. It takes place in an isolated northern city that hasn’t seen the sun for over 98 days. The people rely on medications such as solar glycine and sleeping pills to deal with the never-ending darkness. Not everyone is doing well and we learn that the lack of sunshine has caused a zombie-like disease in many of the citizens. These unfortunate souls are called strays by the volunteers and military units that capture them. Beth (Niamh Carolan) is one of those volunteers who goes out every night searching for the strays. But Beth is also looking for her missing father.

The heaviness that Beth and the others deal with is very palpable. It mirrors the depression that we have all felt during the Covid Shutdown. Beth refuses to take any of the meds, and that worries her friends…and rightfully so…but we see that Beth is able to fend off the sickness through her dreams. The bad news…in her dream state, she is draining the life out of anyone she becomes close with. The strays are kept at a prison and although they don’t appear to be flesh eaters, these strays are able to suck the life energy from a person.

When Beth realizes that her best friend, Natalie (Solange Sookram) might have become infected because of her, Beth has to make a decision.


I felt this film. Who can forget the isolation of the Covid shutdown? My husband was fighting for his life in the hospital, and I was not able to visit him. So yes, I felt this film. We never find out what causes this eternal darkness, but again, we witness how people deal with the situation. Natalie is the more optimistic character of this story…taking her meds, looking on the bright side of a bad situation, while Beth broods over finding her father and the strange dreams that she is having. The strays represent us and how we deal with isolation and depression.

In a world where Covid is still very present, Russia threatening war, and the news that an alien Mothership might be in the vicinity of our planet, I honestly don’t know how we, as a species, would survive total isolation. Wintertide is an amazing film. It gets you thinking, and I loved it.

Leave a Reply