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Posts Tagged ‘Wake Wood’

As mentioned on many previous occasions I love Hammer movies. I grew up watching them and still watch them to this day. A few years ago, I went to the cinema on Halloween to see a Terence Fisher’s 1958 version of Dracula staring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing despite the fact I had already seen it at least half a dozen times. With this in mind you can probably understand my excitement when it was announced a few years back the old studio had been resurrected. How are things going for the new/old studio?

Beyond the Rave (2008): Originally aired on MySpace in 2008 (I signed up just to watch this), Beyond the Rave was split into twenty-part episodes. The day before he is due to fly to Iraq, soldier Ed (Jamie Dornan) and his friend Necro (Matthew Forrest) looking for his missing girlfriend, Jen (Nora-Jane Noone). The trail leads to a rave run by vampires. The acting isn’t great and the story loses its way. The online format soon became tedious. Not a great start but a step back towards filmmaking.

Let Me In (2010): I love Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire movie Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In). It was by far the best film I saw in 2009 and the best vampire movie for more than twenty years. The remake Let Me In is totally pointless. It looks fantastic and the young cast (Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz) are great but the feels strangely hollow. While the story of a bullied child is the most important thing to Let the Right One In, it is secondary to the vampire story in Let Me In. Not a bad film in its own right but only a shadow of the Swedish original.

The Resident (2011): After splitting up with her boyfriend, Dr. Juliet Devereau (Hilary Swank) moves into a new Brooklyn apartment. She soon realises something is wrong. The plot is simple and offers no surprises and little in the way of suspense. I am led to believe it was originally intended as Hammers “comeback movie”, as it turned out Let Me In made it to cinemas first, probably because it is a better film.

Wake Wood (2011): Following the death of their daughter a grieving couple (Aidan Gillen, Eva Birthistle) move to a small village. Once accepted in the community the couple are approached Arthur (Timothy Spall) the creepy community leader who offers to perform a pagan ritual, the potential result of which they cannot resist. With its pagan ritual and creepy atmosphere it is both a return to classic horror themes and form of Hammer. It offers little new or original and is probably to mild for fans of current horror movies but I really enjoyed it.

The Woman in Black (2012): After the disappointment of Let Me In and the disaster of The resident, artistically speaking, this is surely a make or break movie for Hammer. Happily it doesn’t disappoint. Based on a novel by Susan Hill and previously adapted as a TV movie in 1989. Young widower Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) leaves his son in the care of his nanny (Jessica Raine) when his employer, a firm of London solicitors sends him to a remote village to clear up the affairs of a recently deceased woman. It soon becomes clear that that he is not alone in the big old house. Beautifully shot well cast and acted and full of jumpy moments. This isn’t only a perfectly crafted old fashioned horror movie, it is truly a Hammer Horror.

After being initially disappointed by the new Hammer output: Beyond the Rave, Let Me In and The Resident, I was pleasantly surprised by Wake Wood and enormously impressed by The Woman in Black. I am now filled with optimism for Hammer and anticipation for their future films.

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