The Protector – Fantasia ’22 review

After killing her wife-beating father, Evelyn (Chelsea Clark) has spent a good long while in juvenile detention. But now she’s out, and is trying to re-enter society under the watchful eye of her psychiatrist and sponsor Dr. Flora (Rebecca Jenkins). The catch – she has to live under probation in Dr Flora’s quiet, snowy, crime-free hometown of Wilfrid. But when a strange grimoire is left at her door, Evelyn starts to get suspicious about the local community. The book tells the legend of “The Protector,” a god that brings peace to wherever it dwells. Together with co-worker Eloah (Munro Chambers), Evelyn starts investigating just why Wilfrid is so idyllic.

Writer-director Lenin M. Sivam gives us a tough, take-no-shit heroine who stands up to all the gaslighting, manipulation and subtle belittlement that snowy small-town Canada can bring. Clark brings out a deep fire in her character, as a young woman who manages to reassert a belief in herself as she’s drawn into a mysterious plot – a plot rooted in South Asian mysticism, despite this most unlikely of locations.. So if you’re looking for a film with a female lead who stands up and says “no, enough of this!” then The Protector is for you.

The Protector played at the Fantasia International Film Festival on 28 July and 1 Aug.


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