I have to express a bit of disappointment in the revamped Hammer Films brand thus far.
Once an iconic horror studio, their newest incarnation–kickstarted two years ago with the vamp-punk thriller Beyond the Rave– has yet to live up to their substantial legacy. The other films in this production slate have included the good but unnecessary Let Me In, Matt Reeves premature remake of Sweden’s Let the Right One In, a ridiculously poor NY-based psycho thriller generically titled The Resident, and now Wake Wood, an indie horror with the great Timothy Spall.
What about Wake Wood? Without knowing the quality of the film, I’d say this looks a bit closer to the mark. I’ve heard very little about the film beyond what the press notes say, but the low-budget atmosphere and creepy villagers put one in mind of Hammer in its heyday. With Spall here to sputter and spit as he chews the scenery, I have hopes that Wake Wood might mark the first of the new Hammer Films to deliver a good original (relatively speaking) scare.
Here’s the summary and below find the gory and sinister trailer:
“In an attempt to cope with the grief and despair of losing their only child Alice (Ella Connolly), mauled to death by a savage dog, veterinarian Patrick Daly (Gillen) and his pharmacist wife Louise (Birthistle) move from the city to the remote Irish village of Wake Wood. With Patrick taking over the local vet’s practice and Louise working in the village chemist store, the couple soon become friends with many of the local landowners, farmers and their families.
Their acceptance as members of this small but close community leads them to the discovery of an ancient pagan ritual practised by the people of Wake Wood in order to help ease the sudden loss of a loved one. This tradition, secretly preserved for many centuries, enables the grief-stricken to bring a deceased person back from the dead for a period of three days within one year of their passing, allowing them to say a final farewell to the departed before they make their final journey to the spirit world. For Patrick and Louise, this represents a miraculous opportunity to see Alice one more time and their request for the villagers’ help in realising their wish is reluctantly granted. But the ritual is bound by strict rules and conditions, which, if broken, demand a terrible price be paid.”