The Legend of Harrow Woods (2011)
(18) Running time: 78 minutes
Director: Richard Driscoll
Writer: Richard Driscoll
Starring: Richard Driscoll, Robin Askwith, Norman Wisdom, Rick Mayall, Jason Donovan, Christopher Walken
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Oh God this is dreadful, really really dreadful. I didn’t find any enjoyment in this baffling horror, apart from when the end credits started rolling, it was that bad. The most annoying thing is that there was a good film trying to get out, but sadly it was suffocated by so much badness, so much horrendous acting and a plot more confusing than Spaghetti Junction, the film became an endurance test of just how much crap one person can take! Even more surprising is the fact that somehow credible names like Rik Mayall, Christopher Walken, Norman Wisdom and even fucking Jason Donovan agreed to this.
I can’t even begin to explain the plot, it was just a complete mish mash of a group of students going into the creepy Harrow Woods to search out the disappearance of someone, and they end up discovering a curse left there by some witch from centuries ago, and then there are these constant flashbacks to a large manor, where some guy keeps having conversations with strangers. The strangers keep on asking if the woman outside is his wife, he replies yes, and they reply “well, the man she is with would make the perfect husband for her, just look at them” And there they are, simply talking at a table, and the husband (I believe( goes a bit mad with jealousy. Something like that anyway, I forgot, Hell, I forgot what was going on while the film was still on, and quite frankly, I gave up caring within the first ten minutes. I decided to stick it out because the opening credits really got me interested and I was hoping something good would come of this. I should have known better.
The film says the story is loosely based on The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, and Christopher Walken turns up every now and then in voiceover to recite words from Poe’s poems. Personally, I don’t believe Walken even knows this exists, I believe that the poor sod was sneakily recorded while drunk out of his mind and being asked to recite Poe’s poetry. Walken is a tour de force in the movie world, with a strong, powerful, frightening voice, but here he sounds, dare I say it, laughable. It is embarrassing. Rik Mayall saves the day by just being himself, and later on provides some highlights as bolts of electricity fire from his hands and a mirror cracks when he shouts. Jason Donovan doesn’t really do anything apart from stare at a computer screen and pretend he is typing (even though nothing actually appears on the monitor!)
The production is awful, and I have read this film was intended for 3D so everytime we go into the past it all looks a bit like a computer game, although it does look rather cool in places. The opening credits promise a lot, with nightmarish imagery and words like “victim, snuff and perversion” mixed in with photos of Charles Manson and naked women. It starts things off well, and sadly it is all downhill from then on, down right into the depths of crap. Hell, even some lesbians come the end can’t even save it! And the script, my God it’s almost unbearable: “some hokey pokey like the past, but this time it’s real!” Please. Then there are the constant scenes stolen out of The Shining, like the numerous conversations the man has in the toilet about his wife, there is even a gush of blood, right out the The Shining, however this time it covers a large group of naked lesbians (the other films highlight!)
Man, this is quite possibly the worst horror I have seen in about three years, almost surpassing the huge great stink that is Zombeak. I actually feel bad writing this review, and I apologies for the harshness, but really, was the director on drugs, or was he making two different films and decided to blend them into one to save time and money. The Legend of Harrow Woods makes no sense, it won’t scare you, it will not excite you, and you won’t even have the common courtesy to laugh along at how bad it is. This is the sort of film stop buttons were designed for, and I should have used mine, sorry about that!