The Wake Wood

Director: David Keating (2011)
Starring: Aiden Gillen, Eva Birthistle, Timothy Spall
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

Pet Sematary, Hammer Horror style. When their daughter is killed by a savage dog, Alice (Birthistle) and Patrick (Gillen) relocate to the little Irish village of Wake Wood. In true Wicker Man fashion, Wake Wood is populated by shifty-eyed hippies and a sinister fellow with dodgy dress sense - in this case, Timothy Spall's Arthur. Where Christopher Lee was more concerned with burning virginal coppers in his Wicker Man, Arthur offers the parents an opportunity to see their little girl again. They've discovered a way to resurrect the dead for three days only.

Things seem to be going well at first - their little Alice is back, sans doggy chomp marks - but Arthur and Wake Wood's fellow villagers seem to suspect something is amiss. Cue violence, Timothy Spall looking worried and more than a little undue violence towards a dog. Although if my daughter had recently been murdered by a dog, the last thing I'd be doing is letting her hang around with more dogs. Animals, in The Wake Wood are responsible for a lot of the gore and violence. There's the initial scenes in which Alice is munched on by a dog, and then a poor unsuspecting farmer Giles type is squashed by a cow. The Wake Wood is like a scary version of Emmerdale.

The Wake Wood, like Let Me In and The Resident is a fine horror movie but nothing like the standards as set by old Hammer. It's another step in the right direction, but at the moment there seems to be something missing. Maybe the budgets are too high, the American influence too obvious... it's too contemporary, perhaps. Otherwise, it's perfectly enjoyable, plenty chilly and done with class and style.

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