28th Jan2015

‘Blackwood’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Ed Stoppard, Sophia Myles, Russell Tovey, Isaac Andrews, Paul Kaye, Greg Wise, Joanna Vanderham, Kenneth Collard | Written by J.S. Hill | Directed by Adam Wimpenny

Blackwood

Having recovered from a shattering emotional breakdown, college professor Ben Marshall relocates to the countryside with his wife and young son, hoping for a fresh start. He has a teaching job lined up and a new home to move into; things finally look to be going Ben’s way. Until, that is, he starts to feel that something isn’t quite right in the house. Finding himself plagued by spectral visions, Ben becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind a local mystery that appears to be putting the lives of his family in danger.

Within the first few minutes of Blackwood, I had a general idea of what to expect from the film. It all became clear after Ben says the line: “Once I’m onto something, I don’t let go.” Alrighty then. That is obviously not going to happen in this film though is it? Of course it is. Obsession is a big theme in this film and everyone seems to be obsessed with something. I am always unsure when it comes to characters who have a driving obsession because I always find them quite annoying. It was no different with Ben Marshall whose blatant disregard for the family he describes as ‘all he cares about’ and the way he screams and throws stuff around every time something goes wrong like a stroppy toddler, I found very grating.

However, main protagonist aside, the supporting cast were a varied and very interesting bunch who definitely add a lot to the story. A particular highlight being Russell Tovey as Jack, the unstable soldier, whose ability to look both threatening and pathetic at the same time always managed to amaze me.On top of that the overall feel, a moody darkness which is dripping off every scene makes Blackwood a very tense film. It plays heavily into a lot of the scares of the film too, making the whole mansion and a few of the characters too much darker and more haunted. Overall, the story is a good one, with a twist at the end which, even with all the obvious statements in the world, I didn’t see coming and I don’t think you will either.

This film was good, if a little grating. If you are looking for horror which will keep you guessing until the end, (and set in the glorious UK!) this is one to check out.

Blackwood is released on DVD on February 23rd, courtesy of Wildcard Films Distribution.

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