Out now on DVD from Soda Pictures.
Superior supernatural scares.
The market’s been saturated a bit lately with ghostly goings on in the wake of successful movies such as The Conjuring, Sinister and Insidious – which makes it that much more difficult to come up with something fresh and engaging. But this debut feature from writer-director Axelle Carolyn gives us exactly that, a story with a real emotional core but no shortage of scary moments.
Recently widowed musician Audrey (Hellboy 2’s Anna Walton delivering a standout turn) retreats to an isolated Welsh cottage to recover after a failed suicide attempt. Once there, she discovers things going bump in the night and starts to see disturbing visions of her late husband. But the ghost, when it reveals itself, turns out to be that of a former owner – Douglas (Tom Wisdom from the TV series Dominion) – whose suicide bid was anything but a failure.
Wondering if she’s going mad or just suffering from the side effects of her strong depression medication, Audrey tries to learn more about Douglas from local couple Theresa (Casualty’s Tanya Myers) and her husband (the always wonderful Nick Brimble from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves). After being warned against digging too deep, Audrey is left confused as to whether the spirit is friend or foe. Has she found ‘someone’ who might be able to understand her predicament, the fact she blames herself for what happened, or a shade that has problems of its own? Only time will tell…
In the interviews section of the extras, Carolyn freely admits that she was trying to make a traditional British supernatural movie, a Ghost and Mrs. Muir for this generation but with a darker tone. What she has accomplished is so much more, something that works on a variety of levels. It’s a tale about loss, sure, but also about relationships and finding – or rediscovering – oneself after a major life (or death) event. The performances are universally excellent, helping with the suspension of disbelief, but the film is also beautifully shot, belying its low budget origins and simultaneously making the most of the atmospheric Brecon Beacons where it was shot. There are more than enough shocks, surprises and twists to satisfy your average genre fan, but at its heart this is a thought-provoking drama full of character studies and insight.
Other extras include interviews with Walton and Neil Marshall (Carolyn’s husband, but also editor and exec producer on the movie), plus a couple of previous shorts she wrote and directed: the heart-warming Halloween Kid and The Last Post, which is by turns unsettling and poignant (the ending will have you welling up). I really can’t recommend this one highly enough, and after such a stunning first movie I have to wonder what delights are coming in the future.
You know it’s got soul. 10/10