Small Town Murder Songs (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A modern, gothic tale of crime and redemption about an aging police officer from a small Ontario Mennonite town who hides a violent past until a local murder upsets the calm of his newly reformed life. -- (C) Official Site

Rating: R (for some violence, disturbing images, a scene of sexuality, nudity and language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Ed Gass-Donnelly
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 19, 2011
Box Office: $30.9k
Monterey Media - Official Site


as Washington
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Critic Reviews for Small Town Murder Songs

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (9)

"Small Town Murder Songs" moves so deliberately, with such confident authority, that every small event takes on cumulative significance...

Full Review… | July 7, 2011
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

Beneath a deceptive calm, it uncovers a core of fear and loathing as ominous as the backwoods world of "Winter's Bone."

Full Review… | June 30, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

The soundtrack ... goes miles toward making what would be an unmanageably dour experience into an acute emotional resonance; the songs are freed to say more than the characters onscreen.

Full Review… | June 30, 2011
AV Club
Top Critic

A redemption parable that occasionally finds balladlike lyricism in its biblical solemnity and oddball Lynchian rhythms.

Full Review… | June 29, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Boldly succinct yet confident enough to take its time.

Full Review… | June 28, 2011
Village Voice
Top Critic

STMS succeeds as an Ontario Gothic mood piece, a story of alternately repressed and exploding passion.

Full Review… | February 18, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Small Town Murder Songs

A small-town Ontario sheriff in a Mennonite community must confront the demons of his past when his ex-lover's boyfriend is the prime suspect of a murder.
Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal sums up this film perfectly: the film "moves so deliberately, with such confident authority, that every small event takes on cumulative significance." Yes, but the slowness, or in Morgenstern's words, "deliberateness," of the film weighs on its subject. I think it's easy to know that the film knows where it's going, but that doesn't mean that we always do. And the title cards between the film's chapters are wholly unnecessary and do little to advance the plot or clarify the themes.
Peter Stormare is very good, creating a strong character out of subtle moments, and the rest of the cast rides on his coattails.
Overall, this is a good film, but it's pace can easily drag on the impatient viewer.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


if not for the terrible soundtrack i might have even rated this film a half a star higher. the music didnt fit in almost any scene of the entire film. having said that, this is an excellent small budget character study. in some spots the script left some things unsaid, and with a slightly longer running time the film could have fleshed out a few ideas better, but for a 1 hour and 16 minute movie this little crime story delivered extremely well. stormare was very good in the lead.

danny d

Super Reviewer


I liked this gritty little film. Understated performances all around in a dark and quite depressing story about a town a lot like the one I grew up in, and write bad fiction about... a body turns up, a cop finds it, the trail seems to point to his ex-wife's new boyfriend. Shit, meet fan. Tough and engrossing work, by times cliched or overwrought, but in other times strong for its simplicity. Thank you, Air Canada, for airing Canadian films. I don't know how else I would have wound up seeing this. On the whole, I'm glad I did.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

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