THE HARROWING (2017) Reviews and overview

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‘Fear what’s inside you’
The Harrowing is a 2017 psychological horror film written, co-produced and directed by Jon Keeyes (Doom RoomFall Down DeadNightmare Box; Suburban Nightmare; Hallow’s End). The movie stars Matthew Tompkins, Arnold Vosloo, Arianne Martin and Michael Ironside.

Accused of the ritualistic murder of his best friend, a vice detective bent on finding the truth is plunged into Hell when he goes undercover and discovers that demons might be real…

Jon Keeyes, writer and director of the film, says “We’ve carefully crafted an intelligent, suspenseful, tense thriller that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats while driving them down a road of psychological twists and turns.

Right out of the gate, we pull them in with an explosive opening sequence and then keep them guessing as the mystery unfolds until we blow their minds in the final moments. Being able to construct such an intricate puzzle like this – that is both entertaining and thought-provoking – has been a joy.”

Matthew Tompkins, producer: “The Harrowing is carefully constructed to be a powerful synergy of elements that make it one of those rare ‘elevated’ genre films with true crossover appeal to a wide variety of hardcore fans…

The film is a potent mix of horror and supernatural elements that underpin a very smart, disturbing, and complicated psychological thriller…the idea of being able to drive the narrative utilising all of these things, to truly pull that off, from both a commercial and artistic perspective, was a fantastic opportunity for us as filmmakers.”

After witnessing his partner being eaten in a ritualistic murder, vice detective Ryan Calhoun (Matthew Tompkins) goes undercover at a forensic psychiatric hospital. Already haunted by his past, hated by his boss and resented by his otherwise loving wife, being labelled a suspect is a risk that he’s willing to take, but what he discovers is another kind of hell.

Infusing mental illness with the supernatural always makes for compelling psychological horror, and The Harrowing is packed with potential. Calhoun meets several patients who hint that the staff and facility aren’t all as they seem while warning of the dreaded basement from where no one returns. Calhoun’s nightmares of gruesome experimentation and possessed surgeons to make for some visually entertaining Hellraiser-esque moments.

Unfortunately, these are sparse throughout and tied together with flat storytelling and mediocre characters. The most interesting is Ella (Hayden Tweedie) but it seems as though she’s thrown in to add another element of horror to make up for the lack of it. With a running time of almost two hours, events unfold slowly, but the fact that it’s a total mind screw keeps you watching to find out what the hell (literally) is going on.

When Calhoun becomes tormented and attacked by a beast-like entity in the corridors of the hospital, he must delve into some of his worst fears to uncover whether his inner demons are real or a manifestation of his imagination. With a surprise final twist, it’s hard to know if that question is in fact answered.

The Harrowing brings us some well-known actors, and it was nice to see The Mummy’s Arnold Vosloo playing the role of seemingly untrustworthy Dr Franklin Whitney; as well as an appearance from Michael Ironside. The components make for a satisfactory watch, but it’s a shame the product doesn’t quite live up to its potential.

Rae Louise, MOVIES and MANIA

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Available on VOD via Film Mode Entertainment on December 25th 2018.

Main cast:
Matthew Tompkins … Ryan Calhoun – Howlers; Nightmare Box
Arnold Vosloo … Doctor Franklin Whitney – Odd Thomas; Bones; The Mummy
Michael Ironside … Lt. Logan – Patient Seven; The Vagrant; Scanners; et al
Arianne Martin … Anne Calhoun
Damon Carney … Jack Myers – Hellraiser : Judgement
Hayden Tweedie … Ella
Erin Marie Garrett … Bethany
John Walpole … Karl
Morgana Shaw … Jessica
Michael Crabtree … Doctor Hoch
Susana Gibb … Nurse Decker
James Cable … Roy Greenbaum
Tom Zembrod … Max
Brandi Price … Dana
Stephanie Rhodes … Stephanie
Gwendolynn Murphy … Detective Jennifer Wilson
Chuck Huber … Detective Swinton
Billy Blair … Clive
Jason Riley Hoss … Guard Johnson
Todd Crowell … Orderly Simmons
Steven Markel … Congressman Dunning
John D. Hickman … Mark
Tommy Walker Kennedy … Officer Hodges
Russell Rakestraw … Erik
Paul Holmes … Shon
M. Serrano … Orderly Rom
Marisol Vera … Officer Vallejo

Filming locations:
Dallas, Texas

Running time:
111 minutes


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