To Fire You Come At Last 2023 is more than just a creepy horror film, it’s a poignant meditation on grief, writes DAVID SAUNDERSON
TITLE: To Fire You Come At Last
YEAR RELEASED: 2023
DIRECTOR: Sean Hogan
CAST: Mark Carlisle, James Swanton, Harry Roebuck, Richard Rowden
Review of To Fire You Come At Last 2023
Sean Hogan’s To Fire You Come At Last takes us on a haunting journey back to 17th-century England, skilfully merging chilling suspense with age-old folklore.
More than a mere homage to British horror television of the 1970s, the film elevates itself with a modern, layered approach to storytelling.
The black-and-white film introduces us to a strange ensemble of characters, each harbouring personal burdens and unresolved grudges.
Squire Mallow (Mark Carlisle) serves as the emotional linchpin of the group, grieving over the sudden death of his son.
He is joined by Pike, his brutish manservant played by Richard Rowden, whose complex character reveals itself as the plot progresses.
And completing the trio is Holt (Harry Roebuck), who carries the sorrow of losing his best friend.
Their mission is deceptively simple: to transport a coffin on foot to its final resting place.
However, the road ahead is believed to be haunted, imbued with dark folklore and superstition.
They are joined by Ransley, a drunken peasant played by James Swanton, who has been paid to help them carry the heavy coffin. It is his character that instigates much of the drama.
The English countryside serves as a visual tapestry, its undulating landscapes and ancient woods morphing into characters unto themselves. It is sometimes serene and at other times foreboding.
At the centre of the film lies the coffin walk, which serves not only as a physical challenge but also as a metaphor for the emotional baggage each character carries.
The film’s title, “To Fire You Come At Last,” is shrouded in enigmatic allure. While it never explicitly reveals its meaning, it infuses the narrative with an atmosphere of inevitable confrontation and introspection, encouraging viewers to contemplate the story’s deeper layers. (You can find out what it means in Spooky Isles’ interview with writer-director Sean Hogan about the film.)
As well as featuring beautifully depressing landscapes shot in black and white, the film includes unexpected twists that keep us on the edge of our seats.
Moreover, the film provokes us to question tradition versus pragmatism, symbolised by the group’s decision to walk rather than employ a horse and cart, despite the obvious challenges.
It’s this aspect that elevates “To Fire You Come At Last” from being merely a horror story to a meditation on grief, belief, and the human condition.
In sum, “To Fire You Come At Last” is a haunting yet deeply introspective work that leaves viewers ruminating long after the credits roll.
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