July 13, 2011

Review: Wake Wood (2011)

"It might not star Cushing or Lee, but it's a good Hammer film, none the less..."

Before we even get into the film proper, we'd really like to know what in the hell was with the 150 Production Company roll call that we had to sit through before it even began?  

Atlas Film Home Entertainment... Exclusive Film Distribution... Irish Film Board... Vertigo Films... Fantastic Films... Exclusive Film Distribution (Again)... Vertigo Films Distribution (Different from Vertigo Films)... IFB (Again!)... Fantastic Films (AGAIN!!!)... Co-production with Solid Entertainment... "With" Film I Skane... That only took away a minute and nine seconds of my life, not bad.

"All of those names..."
Does everyone on the crew have their own Film Company that they insisted on name checking?

At least within the following 3 minutes we got to see a little girl get mauled to death by a dog, and a guy cut open a cows side, and yank a calf from it. Looks like the movie is making up for the Production Company Montage with some good old fashioned gore!

Thanks for the dead kid, Hammer! Luvs ya!
Wake Wood is the story of two parents that let their daughter get mauled to death by a hinky dog, and decide to move to the Irish Countryside to put it behind them. I mean they couldn't stay in the same town after little Alice took the dirt nap, because you know everyone was calling them shitty parents and making jokes about them behind their backs, because that's what you do when kids die. Makes jokes. Right?

While she hugged him, Bowser couldn't help but ruminate on what it might be like to rip the little bitch's face off.
Their new home in the tiny Irish village of Wake Wood is, well, kinda creepy. Something odd is going on in the town, and it's not long before they find out what it is; you see, there's a fat necromancer who can bring the dead back to life for a three day stretch, allowing their loved ones a chance to see them one last time to say goodby and such. Sounds nice, right? Well, it's not.

Of course the newly grieving couple immediately decides to have him bring wee little Alice back, and he agrees provided that they agree not to leave town for like 5 years, and give on-the-spot massages to anyone in town who might request one. Sounds fair. Who doesn't dig a good happy ending on demand?

He can dig it! (lulz)
So Alice comes back and her parents are filled with joy, until they realize that something is wrong with their Zombie daughter. First thing being that she's a Zombie. Also, she's kinda mean and murderous, so there's that too. What exactly is wrong with Alice? Will her parents send her back when her three days are up, or elect to keep her "alive?" Is there any remote place in Europe that isn't frigging creepy? Far be it from me to spoil any of those mysteries for you, but suffice it to say that I'm never going to Europe, unless it's to a big city. Even then, I'm going to have to think it over.

Guess where they are? Yep. The European countryside!
Definitely a return to form for Hammer Films. Wake Wood has that old school "witchy" feel about it that the Hammer Films of the 60's and 70's were so good at creating. It may not have carriages and rolling fog banks in every scene, but it felt creepy and foreboding none the less. It's like a mixture of The Wicker Man (1973, not the shitty remake) and Pet Sematary, wherein you have a small town full of pagans that perform rituals whereby you bury your dead and bring them back to life. Whereby Horror ensues. Shared elements for sure, though Wake Wood manages to take its own path and keep things fresh enough. It's not an in-your-face, jump scare-filled modern day Horror film in the least. Thank God.

"I told you not to trust me."
If you've never watched Aiden Gillen in The Wire or Game of Thrones, you're missing out on both two great shows and performances. Whether it's Tommy Carcetti or Littlefinger, they guy has given us two of the best TV characters of all time. He's good in this one too, and actually plays a good guy for a change. Why he isn't the next James Bond villain is beyond me, because he'd be perfect for it.

And what is it with Eva Birthistle and her love of movies that involve creepy kids? This, The Children, Daisy Chain... She likes playing a mother in distress, I suppose.

"What the fuck is wrong with her?"
Wake Wood is a solid film and a nice change of pace from today's "Horror norm." It's a Creepy Kid movie done Hammer style. If you need gallons of blood to satisfy your Horror cravings, this movie isn't for you. If on the other hand you value atmosphere over viscera, you should be happy as a clam with this one. Not bad, Hammer. Now, make a good Vampire flick for the modern age, then we'll be truly impressed.



Eva Birthistle is in this.

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