Gwen – UK, 2018 – reviews and with Blu-ray and DVD news

Gwen is a 2018 British gothic horror feature film written and directed by William McGregor, based on his 2009 short. The Endor Film-BFI production stars Eleanor Worthington, Maxine Peake, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Mark Lewis Jones.

Plot:

In the stark beauty of 19th century Snowdonia in Wales, a young girl, Gwen, tries desperately to hold her home together. Struggling with her mother’s mysterious illness, her father’s absence and a ruthless mining company encroaching on their land, growing darkness begins to take a grip of her home, and the suspicious local community turns on Gwen and her family…

Release:

Gwen premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on 7 September 2018. The film was released in UK cinemas by Bulldog Film Distribution on 19 July 2019.

Meanwhile, RLJE Films partnered with Shudder, AMC Networks’ streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, to bring Gwen to theaters, VOD and Digital HD on August 16, 2019. The film was also be released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 8, 2019.

Special features:

  • Interview with actress Maxine Peake
  • Interview with actress Eleanor Worthington-Cox

Reviews:

“Creeping, ominous shots do more to drum up suspense than jump scares or actual gore. But in the shadows, everything feels threatening. Candlelight is the scariest light, isn’t it? But even the weather is threatening. Even the isolation of the landscape is threatening!” Assh*les Watching Movies

” …McGregor and his production crew deftly craft a great deal of tension, particularly in the lead-up to the grim bloody final conclusion. Clever, beautiful and well-acted, Gwen proves to be an unexpected delight.” Bloody Disgusting

“The pioneering period folktale that blends with gothic horror set in a stunning landscape creates one of the year’s best in terms of atmosphere. And just like The Witch, Gwen teaches us that it’s often society that creates the worst kinds of monsters.” Bloody Disgusting

Gwen is a horror story, one which might be described as choosing horror over story, or style over substance, but whose style is so striking and effective it hardly matters. It establishes a mood of dread and suspense which slowly escalates and is sustained through the final moment…” Far Out Magazine

” …Gwen is all about that certain mood common to most folk horror films: a darkening eclipse of dread as the evils of the collective begin to spill out into the night. Set your sights on this one, horror folks, because I think you’ll be looking at a new favorite come its release.” Film Inquiry

“Viewers who savor lurching period-based lifestyle dramas defined by stony gazes and relentless nothingness, Gwen will brood unforgivably and make “Top 10” lists come December. Know your brand and watch accordingly. Those who only hop aboard Train To Busan level intensity need not apply.” Flickering Myth

“The way the land and the light are captured on film it almost seems as if it is a character all its own. It feels so cold and harsh, dark and dirty, like a villain that the family has to battle. The cinematography adds so much dimension and stark ambiance to the film.” Horror Fuel

“This film is one that stays with you long after the credits roll. This reviewer wishes it were a little longer than it’s one hour and twenty-four minute run time. The breathtaking views, combined with impeccable direction and brilliant performances make the harrowing journey so satisfying.” Killer Horror Critic

“By the third act, McGregor has fully embraced the horror devices – jump scares and thunder crashes abound […] But in fact, it is the more subtle suggestions of discord, rather than the overt shock techniques, which most effectively create the film’s lingering sense of unease.” Screen Daily

Cast and characters:

  • Eleanor Worthington-Cox … Gwen – The Enfield Haunting
  • Maxine Peake … Elen
  • Kobna Holdbrook-Smith … Doctor Wren
  • Mark Lewis Jones … Mr. Wynne
  • Richard Harrington … Edward Morris
  • Richard Elfyn … Minister Bowen
  • Dyfrig Evans … Father
  • Jodie Innes … Mari
  • Gwion Glyn … Harri Morris

Technical details:

84 minutes

Working title:

The Dark Outside

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