THE WASTING (2016) Reviews and overview


‘Would you believe her?’

The Wasting is a 2016 Canadian/British psychological drama film written and directed by Carolyn Saunders. It stars Alexz Johnson, Lauren McQueen and Shelagh McLeod.

A teenage woman faces emotional challenges – a budding romance with her new boyfriend and growing conflicts with her father’s strictness. While trying to deal with these issues, she stops eating.

While her health deteriorates because of her eating disorder, she sees the ghost of a frightening old woman every night. Her friends and family believe these sightings are hallucinatory or mere nightmares. With no one believing her, she must search for a solution…


The Wasting has a lot to say about the nature of mental illness, in a way that is clearly well-researched, but also delivered in an entertaining package. First time director Carolyn Saunders has crafted a thoughtful, complex film that is more of a horror in the way that The Others or Sixth Sense or Babadook is: It’s a human story wrapped in a ghost story. The characters are well-draw and realistic, strongly portrayed by the young, highly watchable cast…” Edmovie Guide

“Lauren McQueen gives a stellar performance playing Sophie, the protagonist. She plays a young woman in love with sexual longing battling possessive parents, an eating disorder and an evil supernatural presence […] The Wasting is a provocative film. Fans of the psychological horror genre will love it.  Saunders has woven many visual and sound elements to create a compelling film that shines a light on perception and reality.” The Extra Mile

“Everything about this film comes off as just a poorly put together psychological thriller. It’s mood feels horror, but it portrays no real fear. The film’s characters are stiff and just does nothing to make the audience interested in what becomes of anyone in this story.”In the Seats

The Wasting is a worthy indie drama that is a bit more than just a coming-of-age film. There are some good points that I can’t deny. The premise of it may not be new but is refreshing enough to give it a chance. Although not a masterpiece, this film does deserve a chance to be seen by a decent amount of viewers.” Let the Movie Move Us

Main cast and characters:

  • Alexz Johnson as Grace
  • Gray O’Brien as Ilyas
  • Lauren McQueen as Sophie
  • Shelagh McLeod as Valerie
  • Peter Sacco as Doctor Barlas
  • Brendan Flynn as Kai
  • Anna Treasure as Virginia
  • Sean Saunders Stevenson as Liam
  • Jacqueline McMillan as Doctor Hiddleston
  • Catriona McDonald as Philippa


Writer-director Carolyn Saunders said that her inspiration came while writing for the documentary series Ghostly Encounters, when she met an anorexic young woman whom nobody believed was visited nightly by a ghost. The woman’s story became the television episode, “Anorexia and the Haunting Hag,” and, intrigued by the relationship between eating disorders and the supernatural, Saunders wrote The Wasting.

Filming locations:

Hanley Castle and Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, England

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