YEAR RELEASED: 2011
DIRECTOR: David Keating
CAST: Timothy Spall, Eva Birthistle, Ella Connolly and Aidan Gillen
KATIE DOHERTY reviews the UK-Ireland Hammer horror Wakewood (2011)
Wake Wood is a tale of love, lose and paganism. This “folk horror” film is one of the new productions to come from the Hammer studios and it certainly bears the markings of the institution that will never die.
Wake Wood’s plot is a rather simple one.
A couple come to the village to start a new life after the rather brutal death of their only child; she is mauled to death by a dog. The small, insular village is soon aware of the new arrivals and the couple discover that the people of Wake Wood are more than what they seem. After revealing the loss of their daughter the residents open up the idea of a rather special pagan ritual. “What is this?” I hear you cry. This ritual would bring back their daughter from the dead but for three days only, however, she must remain within the town of Wake Wood. But there is a twist in this tale of which I won’t reveal. You will have to watch it for yourself!
The film has many characteristics of the gothic horror tale. The isolation of the family, the insular village, its dark secrets and their pagan ways. Its plot is simple, with a nice twist in the tale. It is nicely shot, the countryside imagery is great and the wonderful Timothy Spall makes a great addition to this cast as the rather sinister leader of the village, he does it so well!
What is so charming about this film is its ability to feel so British. There are no Hollywood effects put in there for show, it is a simple plot with British folklore and tradition weaved into it! A great triumph for Hammer.
KATIE DOHERTY is a writer and editor for horror and heavy metal magazine Black Sunday.