Boy, where to begin with this! We have three involving, at times complicated plots on offer here, each one heading towards the other in one of the most inventive and original horrors I have seen in some time. I wouldn’t go as far to say this film is over complicated, in fact, it’s quite easy to follow, so long as you give it your full attention. It doesn’t make life easy for the viewer, but isn’t that a good thing, to find a horror brave enough to not baby feed it’s audience and force you to use your own head?
Anyway, the majority of the film is based on a rundown council estate and the gorgeous Petronella (Hanna Stanbridge) lives there. She is a feast for the eyes, generally walking around in tiny skirts and boots, so my attention span was all good! She lives with her Mother who couldn’t give a shit about her, or her disable brother. Petronella spends her days caring for her brother, and fighting off local hoodies who seem to have it in for her brother. One day Mary (Katie Dickie) and her quiet son Fergal (Niall Bruton) move in next door. Petronella and Fergal start spending time together, and romance blossoms, much to the annoyance of Fergal’s over protective Mother who seems to be hiding a dark and sinister secret. She is covered in strange symbols, has bizarre magical symbols written on the walls and spends most nights naked, kneeling by her bed and carving her chest. Nice woman! Her son tells his new girlfriend that she is a witch, but what kind of witch, and what is she doing with all these symbols? It would seem she is trying to keep something away?
Enter Cathal (James Nesbitt), he is a sinister fella who actually looks like the Devil with his big black bead, jet black hair and vicious, dark eyes. He has been granted some special magical powers, and after getting permission from local Laird (a very scary James Cosmo), Cathal is able to carry out his mission. Added to this complicated plot is some sort of beast that is stalking the council estate at night and brutally killing people. To tell you much more about the plot just may spoil things, and with so much going on i could be here all day explaining so let’s instead, talk about the actual film and how good it is…
Let me make one thing absolutely clear again, you need to pay attention to this film, if you do that you will honestly be rewarded with something which is truly original and is actually quite brilliant! This is a dark film, in every sense of the word. It’s filmed either at night, or in the shadows and any daytime filming is met with very little colour or light, so the mood never lifts above intense claustrophobia. Filmed in Scotland, the Scottish accents add some brilliant authenticity to the story of witches, black magic and monsters. The hauntingly superb soundtrack thunders through the film like some evil force waiting for its moment to strike. The intensity levels on offer here are simply outstanding. I do love it when films use music to its full potential, and it certainly does here. The level of mystery keeps up right until the end and you never know which way this film is going to go. It’s also incredibly refreshing to witness the beast and see that it’s all done the old fashioned way, latex with air pumps causing the body to almost bubble. The beast is an incredible creation considering the budget, and it makes some of the most disturbing sounds you will have heard in a while! There is a very small amount of CGI, but honestly, superb work by the make-up artists.
The characters are all strong and played incredibly well and each of them is so damned serious. In fact, i don’t recall any smiles in this film at all. The only bit of acting that was a bit rubbish is a social worker who visits the estate, but she is given her just desserts in a wonderful scene where she is cursed, to her face. You have to see the film to understand the awesomeness of this scene and what follows. In fact, the film is full of moments of brilliance, moments of pure serious horror that is sadly missing in todays torture-porn market. Horrors with big ideas and fresh outlooks don’t come along as good as this very often. Honestly this is one of the finest straight to dvd horrors I have seen for some time, and it will take some beating. This film really does draw you in and suffocate you, if you let it. It’s so refreshing to find a horror with such atmosphere, such brilliant storytelling, such fine acting, so pure in all things horrific and so damned inventive it will quite literally take your breath away. Get out there and buy the damned thing, absolutely brilliant!