"a very intriguing plot-line, with lots of potential, particularly within its genre"
When watching a horror movie, there is one simple aim from the film makers and one thing that we, the audience, expect – and that is to be scared. However, ‘Wake Wood’ doesn’t provoke such an emotion, and instead was strenuous at times, and unnecessarily complex.
‘Wake Wood’ has a very intriguing plot-line, with lots of potential, particularly within its genre. A young girl, Alice (Ella Connolly) is attacked and killed by a dog, and her parents, Louise (Eva Birthistle) and Patrick (Aidan Gillen) move to a reclusive Irish village called Wake Wood. They soon discover that the people of Wake Wood are able to bring the dead back to life (if they have been dead for less than a year) and allow them to spend time with their loved ones for three days only. Louise and Patrick cheat the system by declaring their daughter had been deceased for less than a year when she had in-fact passed away previous to that. Due to such a lie, things don’t go as initially planned.
Within the story there is room for much potential and space to explore the realms of the un-dead and really pick upon some indistinct themes. The very idea of bringing the dead back to life, particularly that of a young girl - the most frightful subject within horror films - is creepy and sinister. However, what uncurls is gory and unimaginable. Not that the idea of bringing the dead back to life is believable in any way, but the film develops a fantastical route when, despite its outlandish ideas, it could actually stay more true-to-life - and there isn’t anything more scary than reality.
The performances from the lead roles are, however, well judged. It’s a thrilling debut from the young Ella Connolly who has an eerie atmosphere about her, and you always feel that she is capable of something horrifying. Also, Timothy Spall puts in a creepy performance as a local vet (Arthur) who performs the act of resurrection which brings Alice back to life.
Despite its lack of direction and its inability to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand-up – the unique and rather interesting story certainly gives the film some edge. It’s well-acted and delves into quite interesting themes, and the eerie atmosphere that lingers over the film most certainly adds to the suspense.
‘Wake Wood’ is not a bad film, not by any means, but it just feels like a decent idea that needs a bit more polishing. It became too overcomplicated for its own good, particularly towards the end, and despite its simplistic idea; its intricacy is its very own undoing.