Monday 28 March 2011

Today's Review: Wake Wood

Against my own opinions that I dispensed in my last horror movie review, this week I took a leap of faith and took home a lesser known horror movie that wasn't foreign. But it's Irish, so I guess that's something. Can't say i've seen an Irish horror before.

Wake Wood starts out with an Irish couple, Louise and Patrick, living their wonderful family life with their young daughter, Alice. But this is a horror movie, so of course it won't stay that way. So in due course, Alice gets horribly mauled by a stray dog and dies. That's more like it. Parents cry, waa waa, fast forward to an undetermined point in the future when Louise and Patrick move to a new town (Wake Wood, who'd have known?) for some reason or other. I guess to get over their grief, but apart from a small argument involving throwing out their daughters' stuff she's never really discussed.

That is, until their car breaks down in the woods and Louise witnesses some kind of strange ritual involving the local townspeople and a dismembered corpse. But instead of saying "Let's get the hell out of here", she just returns to her daily routine, no biggy. But when some strange girl who visits town for a few days mentions her daughter's name, she goes ape shit and demands to know what's going on. So, naturally, the strange cultist townspeople divulge their massive secret. Turns out that if someone's just under a year dead, they can be brought back to life for three days. And conveniently, this couple who lost their daughter happened to relocate to the one area that can offer this perk. So, they go for it. All it takes is once corpse adorned with a special memento, with specific bones broken, covered in shit and set on fire, and boom, out comes their daughter like a calf from a cow's vagina. Delightful.

But Alice is alive and well, and soon enough the happy family are playing together, laughing, hugging etc. This is probably the best part of the movie. It really encapsulates what so many people who have lost their child would love to have the opportunity to do, and if it were not in a horror movie, it's probably a premise that could be played out to really good dramatic effect. But unfortunately, it is a horror movie, and by the time the three days are up some problems arise.

First of all, Louise and Patrick don't want to give up their daughter, but thankfully the townsfolk tell them to shut the hell up and do what they say. Okay, fair enough, they reply. But sadly Alice overhears what's going on, realises where she's about to go and isn't too thrilled with the idea. Now what started out as a pretty good movie quickly descends into cheap gory special effects, shitty camera angles and an ending that I must say I didn't fully understand.

Wake Wood starts out as a promising little gem, but once the originality is out of the way it quickly descends into a messy cliché. It's a shame no one stuck with it, it could have been something a lot better.

My rating: 3/5

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