Estranged aka January – UK, 2015 – overview and reviews

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[Total: 12   Average: 2.7/5]


‘There’s no place like home’

Estranged aka January is a 2015 British horror thriller feature film directed by Adam Levins from a story and screenplay written by producer William Borthwick and Simon Fantauzzo. The movie stars Amy Manson, James Cosmo, Nora-Jane Noone.


Due to a near-fatal accident that has left her incapacitated and depleted of her long-term memory, a temporarily wheelchair-bound young woman named January returns home after being abroad for six years. She is accompanied by her bohemian boyfriend Callum, the apparent cause of the accident.


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Unable to remember her family or her own childhood, she sets out, with the help of her boyfriend, to find the reason for her leaving all those years ago and quickly discovers her relatives may not be as loving as she’d thought…


Reviews [click links to read more]:

Estranged is not a horror film that relies on jump scares, gore or a mass body count to entertain. It focusses instead on the drama of broken families and broken bodies. Estranged is particularly brilliant at wringing tension and casting doubts in the viewer’s mind, making it a great cerebral and thrilling horror.” Kat Hughes, The Hollywood News

“The film’s pace is languid to the point of standing still in places but it is necessary. It makes January’s predicament not only disturbing but frustrating as well. This oddball family, so determined to control her every move is strange and annoying. Gradually the theme bypasses strange and enters firmly into the world of the weirdly scary.” Michael Knox-Smith, Mike’s Film Talk

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Estranged is a fine example of British horror. We have the isolated home, the trapped victim, the malevolent captors and we the audience get to watch January’s nightmare unfurl in front of us. Not at a breakneck speed with snapping edits, to force scares upon us, but gradually and calmly like the perfect storm.” Villordsutch, Flickering Myth

“I couldn’t help but think of Lucky McKee’s The Woman another film focused on a pretty f*cked up family. Estranged doesn’t quite hit the same level as The Woman, but it could have. It’s dark enough at times, but I think the general time-warped feeling of this film really keeps it from getting under the skin of the audience.” Christopher Stewart, UK Horror Scene


” … delves into psychological terror with slow-burning poise and an absolutely terrific performance from Amy Manson. It’s a slow movie (maybe too slow for some), but it’s in that creeping crawl of a story that the film finds its pulse, allowing it to create tension and atmosphere that feels earned, not forced.” Ryan C., The Missing Reel

“Amy Manson carries the picture as January, gaining strength she didn’t know she had in the face of the unimaginable, while the actors making up the rest of the family are exceptional at being oddly sympathetic (at least at the onset) and supremely creepy without turning into one-note villains.” Dustin Putman, The Fright File

“While the pangs and jump out of your seat moments may not be plentiful, the character interaction by far makes up for it. While the duration of the overall picture at 101 minutes may seem a little overindulgent, some viewers may become restless but the payoff is more than worth the gradual pace.” Dave Gammon, Horror News

When the credits roll through and you have a chance to let what you’ve seen sink it, you’ll feel very uncomfortable and find it hard to forget. Estranged is a very good, effective psychological horror that is hard to watch, but if you can handle it you’ll be left very impressed with what you’ve seen.” Paul Metcalf, Pissed Off Geek

“The physical isolation of the house effectively stands in for the psychological isolation that such situations often entail, and if the action sometimes seems more dramatic than is necessary for the story, Manson’s performance balances it out, giving the film depth and subtlety.” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“The movie is simplistic, the tension is gripping, and the supporting cast all give off performances that range in between “I’d like to punch one of them” to “please don’t ever let me get stuck in a room with one of these fruit-loops.” Matt Boiselle, Dread Central

“As it should be given her starring role, Amy Manson is uncompromisingly excellent as January. Her performance is a true test of acting prowess with its crushing emphasis on making a convincing emotional arc out of expressions, eyes, and posture. January’s wearying breakdown of will and subsequent resurgence of identity is powerfully portrayed with both outstanding understatement and impressive explosiveness.” Culture Crypt

“The characters are peculiar rather than believable and the twist is hardly surprising – or the bits of the twist that make any kind of sense, that is. None of this matters too much because the pace is maintained, the mood well-judged and the story is idiosyncratic enough to maintain the attention, even as the events depicted become increasingly grotesque and graphic. Not at all bad.” Matt Blake, The Wild Eye

Main cast:

  • Amy Manson – Being Human
  • James CosmoA Hole in the Ground; Malevolent; Dark Signals; CitadelHammer House of Horror TV series; The Stone TapeDoomwatchAssault
  • Nora-Jane Noone – The Descent
  • Craig Conway – The Descent
  • Bob Duff
  • James Lance
  • Faye McLoughlin
  • Eileen Nicholas
  • Simon Quarterman – The Devil Inside
  • Joy Sanders

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