Here – appearing on Netflix in the last couple of weeks – is a bonkers brilliant piece of British horror! A film which blew me away with its energy, even though I’m not sure I followed it one hundred percent and certainly wasn’t convinced by every one of its choices. The vividness with which it carved out its dark little world – and the skill with which it started as one horror film, before becoming another – just held me enrapt.
Dan Stevens travels to a remote island to try and find his missing sister. On the island is a strange, quasi-Christian cult, led by charismatic, mad and undoubtedly dangerous preacher, Michael Sheen. So far, so THE WICKER MAN (which, I should perhaps say, is one of my favourite films). If Gareth Evans didn’t have a large poster of Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward above him when he wrote this, I will be hugely surprised. Stevens does his best to fit in and play the part of a member of the cult (although if there is an obvious flaw, it’s that Stevens seemingly tries to fit in by looking as suspicious as possible at every turn). Eventually he finds his sister, but he also finds that things on the island aren’t quite what they seem.
I won’t give more away, and I know that this turn in the narrative will undoubtedly put some viewers off. But I went with it. I went with it every step of its increasingly mad and gory story. It’s an intense film, but one that thrilled me and gripped me and called to mind old English pastoral horror – and that really is a good thing.
In short, I loved it.
If you’re in the market for quirky scares, my short story collection, SOMETHING WENT WRONG & OTHER STRANGE TALES is available for free now!