Ginger Nuts of Horror
BY JOE X YOUNG
Don’t, just don’t okay! Don’t do it, you’ll regret it, trust me, I wouldn’t lie to you.
It is 1955 and Frances Day is being dragged down a hallway by some lumbering brute whose head is entirely bandaged, she is semiconscious and coming around rapidly. Within the first few minutes things take a turn for the brutal with Francis fighting back, defeating her captor and smashing his head in with a rock, it seems as if she’s hitting him so hard and so often that it would be hard to believe there was anything left of his head.
As it is set in the 50s there’s some very clipped English being spoken, which may have sounded perfectly correct from a BBC newsreader back in the day, but now just comes across as comically theatrical. A quarter of an hour into the film it’s already set up a little bit of back story through flashbacks, some intrigue and the problematic amount of gore, I say problematic because the characters we meet thus far are unconvincing with Francis being joined by a Professor who can’t remember much of what’s going on and appears to be there as some sort of comic foil to the extraordinarily calm killing machine called Frances. I’m puzzled as to the film’s intentions, with some of Britain’s finest comedy actors taking part it being comedy horror might be why things are presented how they are as the acting style is reminiscent of “The Comic Strip Presents” back in the 80s, however it isn’t actually a comedy, or if it is, it’s missing every comedy beat by an extreme distance.
Half an hour into this and it has escalated from being just plain dull to somewhat reminiscent of old Doctor Who episodes. There are more bandage headed things on the prowl in the corridors, I think the attempt with them is to have the feel of the nurses in Silent Hill, these have none of the impact, especially as Frances dispatches them reasonably quickly and easily. She is accompanied by the Prof, who gets into a fight with one of them in what is one of the most ridiculous punch-ups ever committed to film.
I’m not going to say that this film is bad; it would have to improve significantly to qualify for that. At the 45 minute stage there is finally believable and normal acting delivered by Bruce Payne. Unfortunately Bruce cannot save this as his scene is soon followed by one introducing Lee Latchford-Evans, formerly of the pop group ‘Steps’, whose acting is only slightly less wooden than Treebeard from Lord of the Rings. The story, the acting and the general mood leaves much to be desired though in all truth the cinematography and sound are fine, and the special effects although minimal are well handled. I am one hour into the film, with 40 minutes left and it appears to be stuck in a cycle of walking a couple of corridors, confronting a bandage head, smashing his head to pulp and moving on with all the characters doing exactly what they did 20 minutes ago. It’s like being made to watch a cheap video game.
Laura Swift as Frances Day has enough physical presence and fighting capability to assert herself as a good female action role model, but in this she is very much swimming against the tide. Ah! I’ve now seen one of the bandage heads without a bandage and am doing a rethink on the whole special effects thing as it’s one of the most poorly made masks I’ve seen in five decades of watching horror movies. There are cosplayers on you tube doing better than that for fun. It’s not getting any better.
Sorry, but this film really is/was utter shit. The ending is a major let-down, supposed to be some big scary reveal but is actually just laughable and not in a good way. The aforementioned comedy actors have negligible bit part roles which in all honesty could have been played by anyone with as much competence. When I saw Ade Edmondson, Julian Rhind Tutt, Sally Phillips and Bruce Payne were in this I assumed it would at least be halfway decent but now I know better. The basic premise is promising enough, but the film fails on every possible level to live up to that promise, so all that is left to say is that it is as always your choice whether you see this or not, so if you are that way inclined then go for it. It’s available from uncorked entertainment on VOD January 2nd.