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Young Triffie
Fred Ewanuick, Mary Walsh, Andrea Martin
A film by Mary Walsh
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2007
89 minutes

Young Triffie is the weirdest, darkest, and funniest mystery I have seen on DVD in a long, long time. All the ingredients of a good mystery are here: a competent detective, sheep mutilation, an orphan’s murder, loads of potential and very suspect suspects, a little bit of gore, violence, and nudity, and shady ongoings at the local orphanage. If you take all that, set it in 1947 Newfoundland, add the very comic touch of Codco’s and This Hour Has 22 Minute’s Mary Walsh and the great pratfall talent of Fred Ewanuick (of Corner Gas fame), you get one very weird mystery with a massive dose of often black comedy. It is difficult to say if Young Triffie is more of a mystery or comedy DVD but whatever it is it certainly is enjoyable.

Though for some reason the DVD box for Young Triffie gives the appearance it is a family friendly movie this quirky and very dark mystery is far from that. Ewanuick is simply brilliant as young Newfoundland Ranger Hepditch, a smart but very awkward cop who is the butt of many jokes back at the ranger station run by Colin Mochrie. He is sent on a wild goose chase to Swyer’s Harbour to investigate a case of sheep mutilation but arrives just after a murder has taken place. When his boss finds out, he dispatches two other rangers to replace Hepditch so he must prove himself by solving the murder of young Triffie, and the sheep mutilation case before his replacements arrive.

This is the simple version of the Young Triffie story. It is a hell of a lot weirder and funnier than that. Ranger Hepditch’s investigation is much complicated by the fact there is not a single person in Swyer’s Harbour who is not just plain weird and hiding a secret or twelve. Hepditch is very smart, well-educated in investigative techniques, but hopelessly inexperienced. The fact he is unable to find a body of water he cannot accidentally fall into adds to the many, many comic elements of this darkly funny mystery DVD.

There are perhaps a couple of funny scenes and characters too many and this makes Young Triffie a bit confusing at times but the strength of the performances, including Remy Girard as the town drunk doctor and Andrea Martin as his very weird hot to trot wife, the dark comedy, and the writing will carry most viewers to the end. Pay special attention to the soundtrack; it is an important part of the humor here.

Young Triffie, a strange and dark comic mystery, is a keeper if you like well-made off-beat DVDs.