Ginger Nuts of Horror
Official plot synopsis from Mansfield Dark:
Katy and Rachel are two friends working together in a deserted museum cataloguing and stocktaking its contents. The two haven’t seen each other for a while. Katy has moved in with her boyfriend Darren whilst Rachel has just returned from a holiday in the Lake District. As they get to work Katy starts to suspect Rachel is hiding something. Rachel accidentally summoned an ancient evil; the Mothman and it has followed her back to the museum where it watches and waits for them. Katy becomes more paranoid as Rachel becomes more withdrawn. Now Katy is seeing things in the corner of her vision and having terrifying nightmares that are beginning to blur with reality. The Mothman will take a victim, but which one? Terrifying visions of dopplegangers and a strange creature on the museum roof and an unwanted visitor make The Mothman Curse an experience that will stay with you long after viewing.
Filmed ‘blind’ on a special pin-hole camera at London’s most haunted Museum, The Mothman Curse is a terrifying experience that will stay with you long after viewing. Based on unreal events.
That is the whole idea of it, it has the occasional buildup of tension though is aiming for absolute gut-wrenching fear, which for this particular viewer It failed to deliver. Filming blind did add a little something to the production, but whatever addition it made was subtracted by the diabolically poor lighting. Filming it on a 10 quid pinhole camera may well have seemed a good idea to lend the film a grainy texture and the feel of being filmed through closed-circuit cameras, but I feel it backfired horribly as so much of the interesting detail this film could have presented was virtually impossible to make out. Reminded me of those god-awful bits of footage on Crimewatch where they say "have you seen this man?" and show an image of someone you could probably see clearer if your eyes were shut.
In the official synopsis they state it was filmed in London's most haunted Museum, this particular museum holds an excess of 1 million photographs and an absolute mass of movie memorabilia, which would have been fantastic if we were able to see it properly. Maybe it is because I am an utter film nerd that I found this a tad annoying. It was a totally missed opportunity on behalf of the filmmaker to add an extra layer to his production.
Regarding the actual story as you can see from the synopsis it is all fairly straightforward, nothing earth-shattering but functional and it would in fact be a much better film if it had been filmed with a standard video camera instead of the pinhole one. With the common availability of cheap editing software even the most ordinary footage could have been given great special effects which would have really enhanced this film. It was good concept poorly handled.
Katy and Rachel take up the majority of the screen time, and in all truth both characters were completely realistic, the actresses seem as if they were hardly acting at all, I mean that in a good way as the dialogue and interaction was extremely relaxed and natural, giving the film more of a 'fly-on-the-wall' feel. The other characters also appear to be less of a character and more of a natural person, which makes it all seem very real. It is all rather sad that a film which manages to capture such a creepy essence is let down by the murkiness of the filming. Films such as the Blair Witch Project can pretty much get away with making the darkness act as almost another character, it is not the only film to do so, especially in these modern found-footage films. In many of them the night-vision cameras will at least give a fair degree of definition, but that was sadly lacking here. It was not the only problem with this film; areas of light were so bright that they obscured much around them, making it even more difficult to see what was going on. Then there is the sound, it seemed as if there was very little concept of volume control in what was a highly intrusive soundtrack.
I am sorry to say that although I enjoyed the basic concept of the film the production values did nothing for me at all and I was left with a blinding headache after watching it. I know I am particularly sensitive to excessive noise, but even so, this was far too loud and screechy too often throughout the film.
The creature of the title was also a bit of a let-down as it did not appear to be remotely moth-like, more demonic or vulpine in my opinion. The mask was good, but the overall creature did look like a mime artist in a monster mask.
I cannot help but wonder what would happen if the creators of this film did a remake with a decent camera and software such as Adobe After Effects and Soundbooth. The passion was there and the film had a lot of heart, the cast was spot-on. It was just the 'novelty' of the production values which lets it down. One really good thing to come out of it is that if ever I am in London again I will do my best to go to the museum as I would love to see all of the things I could not see in this film.