Blackwood – UK, 2014 – overview and reviews

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‘You can’t outrun fate’

Blackwood is a 2013 British supernatural horror film directed by Adam Wimpenny from a screenplay by J.S. Hill. It stars Ed Stoppard, Sophia Myles, Russell Tovey, Isaac Andrews, Paul Kaye, Greg Wise, Joanna Vanderham, Kenneth Collard.

Having recovered from a shattering emotional breakdown, college professor Ben Marshall (Ed Stoppard) relocates to the countryside with his wife (Sophia Myles) and young son (Isaac Andrews), hoping for a fresh start. With a new job and a new home, Blackwood, things seem to be going his way.

But Blackwood is far from a peaceful, rural escape, as Ben is haunted by visions that seem to connect to the house’s previous owner, Mrs Warner, an artist whose disturbed paintings litter the house.

As Ben begins to dig into the disappearance of a local woman and her missing son, he is led into investigating a troubled gamekeeper (Russell Tovey) and the local vicar (Paul Kaye). The arrival of Ben’s old friend and fellow academic, Dominic (Greg Wise), serves only to awaken buried feelings and past rivalries…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Whilst it doesn’t make anywhere near enough use of its landscape as it could (especially aurally), it is stunning to watch and is wonderfully eerie; especially in its explicit winter-time shots that look atmospheric and crisp.” Adam Scovell, Celluloid Wicker Man

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“Despite the film’s clearly successful atmospheric flair, such artful direction and meticulous scene setting is let down by a script overwhelmed with abominable clichés and generic formulas.” Zoe De Pasquale, Next Projection

“While efficiently filmed, Blackwood prefers using horror tropes as metaphors than for pure scares, lending events the feel of an ambitious but airless thesis. It doesn’t help that Ben is so unlikeable – and Ed Stoppard so inert.” Simon Kinnear, Total Film

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“Definitely reminiscent of any other ghost story or haunted house film you’ve seen before – it certainly has a swirl of Kubrick’s The Shining too – but this acquaintance doesn’t detract from the film’s curt and intense pace.” Emily Stockham, Movie Ramblings

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‘It’s an intriguing watch with a killer ending, although it’s a struggle to relate to Stoppard’s blunt, difficult character, and his performance is a little flat […] As low-budget Brit horrors go, this works well enough both visually and thematically: there’s plenty to keep you guessing and a few genuinely tense, scary scenes.’ Anna Smith, London Metro

Filming locations:

Wales and Surrey, England

Release:

Blackwood was released in the UK on August 1, 2014.

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