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14 July 2012 @ 03:36 pm
Film Review: Wake Wood  
Ever see that horror movie about the city couple who move to a tiny English village where something weird is going on? Well, this is one of those movies with a bit of a twist.

Wake Wood is one of the movies that was produced by the revived Hammer Horror Production company who in their heydey famously created films that made Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing horror film stars. The plot of Wake Wood is your classic tale of small English villages and big secrets.

Patrick (Aidan Gillen) and Louise (Eva Birthistle) have recently lost their young daughter, Alice in a tragic accident. The couple move out of the city to the small town of Wake Wood hoping to start over. Patrick, who takes the job of the local vet, is particularly keen to move on while Louise, now the local pharmacist, remains grief-stricken. It's clear that the difference in coping between Patrick and Louise is widening the fracture already between them due to the death of Alice. One night, they try to clear their heads with a drive and stumble across the local townspeople performing some sort of...ritual. Later, the town's previous vet and apparent non-elected mayor of sorts, Arthur (Timothy Spall) comes to their home to tell them the secret of Wake Wood.

For as long as the town has existed, the citizens of Wake Wood all share the knowledge that they have the power to bring the dead to life for three days. There's a whole set of rules and rituals involved, but for anyone willing to remain in Wake Wood for life, the town can bring back a dead loved one for no more than three days to allow them to properly say goodbye. Arthur offers this option to Patrick and Louise so that they might spend a few more days with Alice for closure's sake. Since this is a horror movie, the couple agree and soon all hell breaks loose.

As a movie, Wake Wood is a pretty sleepy, slow moving story. Not a lot seemingly happens due to the pacing which makes this film an ideal piece of entertainment if you're in the mood for a cozy, not that frightening horror film. Sure, there's lots of death and mayhem but strangely sedate mayhem. I won't spoil the plot, but I will hand it to the filmmakers for surprising me with the emotions I felt while watching this. The ending also makes little sense in terms of logic but in terms of poetic justice, it's absolute perfection.

The acting in the movie is pretty top notch. Gillen (who I know best from Queer as Folk UK but most probably know from The Wire and Game of Thrones) and Birthistle play their roles perfectly as the couple who take a chance on this enticing opportunity and then have to deal with the fall out. And Spall, as always, is near perfection as Arthur.