½*/**** Image D Sound C Extras B
starring Melanie Doane, Janet Monid, Michael Riley, Ted Dykstra
screenplay by Wendy Ord and Matt John Evans
directed by Wendy Ord
by Walter Chaw Wendy Ord's Black Swan had me at "I'm tellin' you, there were traces of blood on that feather." The film is a dedicatedly stupid murder-mystery/small town hick opera featuring your standard collection of comely waitresses bound for better things, saucy diner matrons, scumbags with sidekicks, stolid policemen, preternaturally bright children, and literal idiot savants. Set in a tiny hamlet in the Great White North ("Hopeville," natch), the picture opens with an indecipherable prologue that cuts between three separate storylines: a bunch of teens in a car; the titular black swan doing whatever it is that large water fowl do at night; and a pair of scumbags going through their nocturnal rituals. The rest of the film follows suit by stuttering between two children playing hooky, a cute waitress (Melanie Doane) flirting with a drifter while dreaming, Steve Earle-like, of getting out of Dodge, and of an investigation of a possible serial killer who leaves black swan feathers at the scenes of his crimes.