Reviewed By Ross Hughes
Fans of Dog Soldiers will find much to like about this movie”……..
I have to be honest with you, I was very sceptical before watching this new British horror. With a cast that included Tom Felton who everyone knows as the son in My Family and Miss Boob Job Gemma Atkinson who played some character back when Hollyoaks was kind of watchable. Even the tag of “From The Producers Of Dog Soldiers” had me sighing not because of that film by Neil Marshall, which I love, but the sleeve tag that has those “from the….” on it, usually comes with a feeling of boredom after watching!
Even the opener of this horror I was reaching for the off button. The reason being is that the pace is so way off and very uneven. We meet these group of youngsters who are drinking and smoking pot in a barn, Atkinson is doing a quite annoying slow dance to the boys, while its quite uneasy watching Felton speak without the sound of canned laughter coming straight after. There is this girl Sarah (Isabella Calthorpe) who gatecrashes the sort of gathering, which brings a hostile environment for reasons which us the viewer struggle hard at first to understand. She argues with the boys apart from Felton who we discover is her brother, and then has this sort of weird debate with Atkinson that for me suggests a sexual relationship but I really could not tell. Yes, the beginning is really a head stretch that will test the patience of all fans, especially the crap dialogue that comes out of the mouths of these teens, that makes you scream out…”teenagers do not talk like this!”……but then, who would listen.
We finally after about twenty five minutes we get to a plot thread. It seems this barn is next to old English mansion isolated on a countryside. Staying there is the father of one of the teens, whose mother has popped away for the weekend, which the son believes because she is having an affair. As the stupid talk between them continues, storm clouds gather outside in which a full moon is shinning it all its glory. A lightening storm knocks off all the power and the gang rush from the barn into the house. Its here that the laughter turns to silence. On arrival they notice blood on the stairs. They follow the trail up to the fathers bedroom and find him brutally salvaged and of course very much dead.
Then unexpectedly, the film became good……
Before they can scream at the sight in front of them, they are attacked. We do not see what attacks them, just the POV of this thing, which makes the screen all red and blurry, which suggests some kind of creature, the gang manage to flee into the next room and up in to the attic, where they are trapped with no hope of getting out. They would be safe up there, at least until the creature or creatures leave! But they have a problem. They have left one of their fellow friends, a very young boy in the barn fast asleep. Realising they can not leave the young lad in there to be food bait for this thing, they decide to come up with a plan, but when tensions rise and this creature attacks again, cracks begin to appear in their friendship and soon they are fighting among each other, until one final twist could bring the death call to every single one of them…..
Ok, this is not the greatest horror of the year, but it is a damn watchable one! The producer of Dog Soldiers, must have paid a lot of attention to the making of that film as there are similarities Like all decent horrors of this nature, the creature is not seen, kept in the shadows throughout, and despite the very obvious low budget, the makers use what they have got to full effect.
They are also very clever in what they do at times to the fans of this genre. Some of the characters do the unexpected and there is one death scene involving a shot gun, that is so out of the blue that it actually stuns you on first watch. Fans of Dog Soldiers will find much to like about this movie, even though its not as witty or as good.
The twist ending will only shock those new to this field, with most hardened fans guessing the outcome nearly the past the hour mark, but there are some scenes of real tension, and the climax gives you all the answers and more! It just a shame the opening half will have many giving up, because if you stick by it, the film becomes quite decent……
OVERALL: A creature flick that at times will annoy you, but moments of pure horror flair make 13 hrs a decent british horror flick that shows you can make a british film without the face of Danny Dyer…..