ENYS MEN (2022) Reviews of British isolation horror – now with UK release news

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Enys Men is a 2022 British horror film about a middle-aged woman on a remote island who is haunted by echoes of the past and future.

Written and directed by Mark Jenkin (Bait 2019).

The Bosena-Film4-Sound/Image Cinema Lab production stars Mary Woodvine, Edward Rowe, John Woodvine and Callum Mitchell.

Plot:
On an uninhabited island off the British coast where a wildlife volunteer descends into a terrifying metaphysical and ecosophical journey that challenges her grip on reality and pushes her into a living nightmare…

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Reviews:
“This is not a scary film in the generic sense but there is something unsettling in the simple spectacle of solitude: no company, no television, no shopping, no diversions. In 2022, it seems starker still. All alone on an island, no smartphone in your pocket, nothing but the pencil to make notes about flowers. It’s a situation that forces you to look in on yourself, and that indeed will take you to the brink of something that feels like madness.” 4 out of 5, The Guardian

“Atmospheric and paced like a scattershot dream, Enys Men is a psychological horror that is unnerving but also compelling and thought-provoking. Jenkin has lots of fun jumping around in non-linear time, and his love for Cornwall shines through again with moments that add to this disturbing story. It isn’t as good as Bait, but that’s fine.” 4 out of 5, Loud and Clear

Enys Men is a slow-burning picture, even if its run-time is a flat ninety minutes, that makes us reflect on our identities and separateness through the links between the past (the time before our existence) and the present. It is a weird experience, but one worth flooding your soul in thanks to the distinctiveness of Jenkin’s craft. It is always fascinating to see directors experimenting with filmmaking techniques.” B+ The Movie Buff

Enys Men recalls the two great Clark(e)s of British TV, Alan and Lawrence Gordon, who brought folk horror to the small screen in the ‘70s. Abstract, melancholy, gorgeous, spare, and even with its influences proudly stitched on its sleeve, original, Enys Men is more experimental than mainstream cinema is frequently allowed to be.” RogerEbert.com Cannes 2022

Enys Men shares with folk horror its concern with what lies deep in the land, with buried archaic connections between humans and natural forces, which still exert an influence over the living. In Jenkin’s film, these connections are rooted in the physical reality of death, in the decomposed bodies of past inhabitants whose broken-down components have become part of the sea and the soil.” Sight and Sound

” …the film’s horrors lack potency. There’s nothing here to match the conflagration that caps the original Wicker Man, or the rusticated savagery that held sway in Midsommar. Jenkin is more interested in registering the quieter shocks of solitude: ghosts (or are they memories?) that arrive like uninvited guests, hallucinations, and chronology that cracks and slips.” 2.5 out of 4, Slant

Enys Men is an uncompromising and solid piece of filmmaking. However, in this particular case, it may have functioned better as a short. At a certain point, the mystery stops being interesting and becomes more frustrating. This is due not to its ambiguity, but to its aimless wandering. The film eventually overstays its welcome with no end goal in sight.” 3 out of 5, The Upcoming

“Unfortunately, Enys Men falls apart in the final 30 minutes. After a good chunk of time building an increasingly disturbing atmosphere whilst dropping what feels like clues to what it all means, it fails to come to a satisfying conclusion. Well, it fails to come to any sort of conclusion really as the pieces don’t add up and audiences are left to wonder what the hell it was all about.” We Talk Film

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Distribution and release:
The North American rights have been acquired by Neon ahead of the film’s world premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight section at Cannes.

In the UK, Enys Men will be released on January 13, 2023, at BFI Southbank and in cinemas across the country. Previews with a director Q&A tour in Cornwall and key UK cities will begin on January 2, 2023.

Production:
Enys Men was shot on a 16mm colour negative using a 1970s clockwork Bolex camera and post-sync sound. This was to achieve the feeling of discovering a reel of never-before-seen celluloid unspooling in a desolate, haunted movie palace.

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Technical details:
1 hour 31 minutes

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