21st Dec2018

‘The Harrowing’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Matthew Tompkins, Arnold Vosloo, Michael Ironside, Arianne Martin, Damon Carney, Hayden Tweedie, Erin Marie Garrett, John Walpole, Morgana Shaw, Michael Crabtree, Susana Gibb, James Cable, Tom Zembrod, Brandi Price | Written and Directed by Jon Keeyes

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I thought I’d try to watch a few more new horror movies by the end of 2018 – December is usually just for Christmas movies for me – but The Harrowing sounded interesting from the few things I’ve read about it so I gave it a go.

The first thing I noticed about The Harrowing is that it looks great. I honestly don’t know its budget but I can assure you this would be what most would call a ‘low budget movie’. And it proves that low budget doesn’t mean that your film should look amateur. Here the picture is the highest of quality, the sound is perfect but also, the one thing that isn’t just down to technology, the cinematography is first rate. The film-makers have done everything possible to make sure The Harrowing is visually great and it works.

On a first viewing (and it’s a film that requires at least one more viewing to fully understand, and if you’re that type of person, check everything adds up) the script is a strong one. It keeps you guessing scene after scene, even if it does occasionally border on the silly. But you’ll be invested on how it all comes together and I don’t think many will be disappointed by the movies climax.

It doesn’t feel that much like a horror movie for large parts, much more a crime thriller but then just every now and then the story steers down a more genre-filled path and these parts usually feature plenty of gore. Not dissimilar to movies like A Cure For Wellness and Shutter Island, two films that it’s pretty cool to be compared to. And while The Harrowing doesn’t quite reach the heights of those two, it’s still a worthwhile addition to the sub-genre.

The Harrowing‘s lead role is played by Matthew Tompkins (who also produces) and he does very well – it’s not an easy role and he is in 95% of the scenes so he really is key to the film and he more than holds his own. Genre veteran Michael Ironside has a small but decent role and the rest of the supporting cast do well. Occasionally bordering on overacting but not enough to ruin any part of the movie. The score runs along nicely, and while it isn’t something you’ll want to listen to after, it does its job well. And the few moments of gore and the one ‘demon’ we see are all done with practical effects – no CGI – look very cool, much better than I expected.

Director Jon Keeyes is quite well experienced but not had that ‘hit’ movie yet. I could see The Harrowing going down well with horror fans and maybe picking up a cult following. Or at the very least getting him future movies made which I will definitely be checking out.

*** 3/5

The Harrowing is released on VOD on Christmas Day(!)

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