Wednesday, July 13, 2011
WAKE WOOD (2011)
Directed by David Keating
Aidan Gillen - Patrick
Eva Birthistle - Louise
Timothy Spall - Arthur
The parents of a girl who was killed by a savage dog are granted the opportunity to spend three days with their deceased daughter.
Hammer Studios to me has always meant horror. Even though they did release sci-fi and comedy movies, yet it is their horror movies that everyone remembers the most. Those movies just had a certain look and feel to them. The actors were recognizable due to them playing the same characters over multiple films, such as Peter Cushing playing Frankenstein to Christopher Lee playing Dracula. Even though the acting was decent in most films, some stuck out more than others due to them being better than most or just horrible. In the late 1970's the studio released it's last film, The Lady Vanishes, which basically bankrupted the studio and hence they stopped film production. And here it is in 2011 and Hammer has released three new movies, though actually one of them was only as producers. So what do I think of Wake Wood which is the second full movie by the studio?
I must say that children in horror movies are either good or bad. There is no in-between. Elle Connolly's Alice thankfully is on the good side of things. You can tell that something is just a little bit off once she comes back. At first it's just a hint such as her eye color is different. From there Alice just gets creepier. As for Aidan Gillen and Eva Birthistle, they do a fairly decent job as the grieving parents who get to spend three more days with the daughter. But it's Timothy Spall as Arthur who is the real treat to watch. Yes, Spall does overact a little bit, yet at the same time it just helps improve his character who is the head of the small town the story takes place in. Spall seems pleasant in his role, but at the same time has a dead seriousness to his character. Yet every time Spall shows up on screen he draws the most attention, as well as something bad almost always happens when he does.
One of the things I really did like about the movie is that it tried to remain in the creepy atmospheric style of the classic Hammer films. Sure some of the shots seemed out of place, thankfully those shots are few and far between. David Keating knows how to create tension and unease and to keep it building. The horror is restrained and in its place is a creepy factor that permeates the entire film. The only real break that happens in story telling is when Alice starts killing the town inhabitants. The reason is never fully explained why she does this or how she's able to affect electricity, I'm still scratching my head at that one. I do have to say that it's the Pagan aspect to the story though that that had me the most interested and it should have been expanded further as it is obvious that the ritual used has been around a long time and almost everyone in the small town has been apart of it in some fashion or form and the the people of Wakewood respect and fear it. Unfortunately nothing is fully explained, still it is because of this that there is a mystery to the story.
Thank you England for letting Hammer Studios exist again. Yes, Wake Wood does go from a thriller to a slasher rather abruptly, yet the mood is still there in the film throughout for the most part. I would love to see more movies based around this little town of fiction called Wakewood. You can just tell that something bad has happened before and I would love to find out what that is. As for the film itself, I'm happy to say that Hammer is back and in a good way. By all means the main concept of the movie has been done before, however it is how Keating puts the movie together that makes it more and additionally he doesn't try to make it seem like a farce. And in doing so brings the movie up to a higher level than what should have been possible.
The second death of Alice. Stipulations will always get you.
I'll be there in a minute.
Wake Wood is the second feature from Hammer Films in 30 years.