THE PERISHED (2019) Reviews and overview

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‘It will feed on your guilt and be reborn…’

The Perished is a 2019 Irish supernatural horror feature film about a young woman haunted by the spirits of unwanted souls.

Written and directed by Paddy Murphy, the Celtic Badger Media production stars Courtney McKeon, Fiach Kunz, Conor Lambert, Noelle Clarke and Paul Fitzgerald.


Dealing with a pregnancy termination in Ireland has been hard for Sarah Dekker (Courtney McKeon). Shunned by her religious zealot family and after also breaking up with her unforgiving boyfriend, she travels to a sympathetic friend’s house in the country to recover.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Sarah, the provincial pile sits atop a mass grave of unwanted babies and their lost, confused spirits want to be reborn. Feeding on guilt and remorse the spirits need a mother. And they just might have found one in Sarah…


“The film dwells on Sarah Dekker’s sins of the flesh more than any other character. Of course narrow-minded views are aired, exposed by her friends and family’s hurtful barbs aimed at Sarah, but those people, like her vociferous, judgemental mother, don’t pay any such supernatural price for their sinful behaviour.” Brit Flicks

“Rather than a searing critique of a country and a religion that could allow such heinous crimes to happen, The Perished boils down to a by-the-book story of a woman punished for her decision, which could be seen to undermine its pro-choice slant. Between its kitchen-sink drama and Grand Guignol theatrics, there are two stories fighting for supremacy here, and there’s a pervading sense that neither is truly a man’s to tell.” Daily Dead

“While Murphy does a great job directing his cast, and he’s delivered a very tight script, there are a couple of issues with the film. One is around Courtney McKeon. For the most part she’s very good in the role of Sarah but I found in the more emotional moments, she struggled to convince and it felt like she was being a little more restrained than necessary.” Entertainment Focus

“The climactic moments are like something straight out of Clive Barker’s mind and have a distinct Hellraiser tone to them. A film of many dualities, The Perished is an accomplished feature that demonstrates the talents of Murphy and his team.” The Hollywood News

“I appreciate filmmakers are slaves to a budget, and the small-scale may be for these reasons. But unfortunately, as much as I dug the finished product I don’t think it quite does the concept justice, nor explores its implications as fully as I’d have liked. Still, the small-scale works for the characterisation…” Horror Cult Films

“It’s a heartfelt look at one of the few big stigmas left in society while being a damn fine horror film at the same time. Paddy Murphy gets behind his podium and tells his story, forcing you to be a part of the conversation. It’s piercing atmosphere will leave as much of a cold feeling in the pit of your stomach as it will leave you scared.” JumpCut Online

“There’s much noisier horror in the business with the monster, which perhaps has to bear too much symbolic weight on its spiny back but is also a cool throwback to the sorts of grotesque physical effects seen in the likes of Inseminoid and Xtro.  McKeon is excellent in the lead.” The Kim Newman Web Site

The Perished is fresh, interesting and often chilling with its supernatural horror. What it lacks in the occasional substandard performance, it makes up for with the story itself and the use of macabre visuals. Not the most mind blowing ghost story I’ve seen but still one I had fun with, and found a lot to like about…” Nerdly

“It handles its subject matter with grace and respect, and is indicative of a filmmaker who has more than done his share of research. So no, there is nothing easy about watching The Perished, but most of the best genre films are difficult to watch. This is a small indie film that makes you feel and think…” Nightmarish Conjurings

The Perished is obviously made on a low budget, even if a similar economy does not always govern its dialogue, which is at times overlong, repetitive and a little on the banal side. Yet that mundanity offsets the bizarre nature of what is emerging in the house, and the film’s central issues – women’s bodies and choices in a country which has traditionally oppressed them – are compelling ones, here handled with welcome irrationality and irresolution.” Projected Figures


The Perished had its world premiere at the 2019 Arrow Video FrightFest in London on 26th August.

Cast and characters:

  • Courtney McKeon … Sarah Dekker
  • Fiach Kunz … Shane Daly
  • Conor Lambert … Richard Dekker
  • Noelle Clarke … Elaine Dekker
  • Paul Fitzgerald … Davet Lynch
  • Lisa Tyrrell … Rebecca Daly (as Lisa Tyrell)
  • Stephen Tubridy … Kilin
  • Oisin Robbins … Nigel Kiely
  • Tim Hourigan … Doctor Moylan
  • Brian O’Regan … Shop Assistant

Filming locations:

West Clare, Ireland

More Irish horror

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