23rd Oct2020

Frightfest 2020: ‘Concrete Plans’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Steve Spiers, Chris Reilly, Charley Palmer Rothwell, Willaim Thomas, Goran Bogdan, Amber Rose Revah, Kevin Guthrie, James Lance | Written and Directed by Will Jewell

Five misfit builders coming together to work on a farmhouse in some remote Welsh mountains don’t seem like the basis for a horror film. But Concrete Plans, a very British movie, is exactly that and although it takes a little while to get there, there is plenty of horror to witness.

The five workers might be a little stereotypical but are the perfect ‘gang’ for this movie. You have the arrogant youngster who is being badly influenced by an older bigoted guy. The Ukrainian guy who just wants to work but is constantly antagonised by that pair. While we have the older guy who just wants to get on with work but will defend any prejudices he sees. And lastly, we have the foreman who is a nice guy and trying to keep the peace in the whole group. The story, for at least the first half, goes as expected. With their payment delayed, tempers are flared and the arguments get louder and more threatening.

The cast is excellent. All British actors who you will recognise from something or another if you are from the U.K. The foreman is played by Steve Spiers, an actor I have always liked after first seeing him in Ricky Gervais’s Extras. As ever, he is super believable as the guy who is trying to make everyone happy but could still scare the hell out of any of them if he needed too. Spiers shows his versatility and is really enjoyable. The ‘villains’ are played by Chris Reilly (the older one) and Charley Palmer Rothwell. Reilly is excellent with a character that we probably all sadly know, while Rothwell is great with the cocky, annoying and just pure horrible character (he also has one of those faces you have to hate – I mean that in the nicest possible way!). Experienced actor Willaim Thomas plays the older guy, one of those people that everyone likes, and like the rest of the cast he is just perfect for the role. You could easily believe all these people are exactly the same in real life. Goran Bogdan, I only recognised through the show Fargo, but he is excellent and shows a surprising range as the Ukrainian Viktor. I have to mention James Lance, who has a small role but I recognised from I’m Alan partridge all those years ago.

There’s alot to enjoy with Concrete Plans. It has that gritty dark feel of many British horror movies, early Ben Wheatley-esque, which can only be a good thing. You might wonder where the horror is coming from but when it does it hits hard, with some brutally violent scenes. You will only hate the awful characters even more and you’ll be desperate to see the good guys pull through.

There’s also a class divide message here that becomes front and centre as the movie goes on and it couldn’t feel any more relevant than it does now. Rich guy thinking it’s fine to delay payment on working class guys who desperately need the money will feel all too familiar to many.

An excellent and varied score accompanies the movie and inexperienced director Will Jewell creates an unexpectedly emotional movie even if I didn’t completely love the last ten minutes. That said, Concrete Plans is a strong, dark, and gritty horror that could perhaps only be made in the U.K. and that’s one of the reasons it is so good. This will no doubt stand-out from the pack at this year’s October Frightfest event.

**** 4/5

Concrete Plans screens today, Friday October 23rd, as part of this October’s Frightfest Digital Edition


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