17th Oct2015

Frightfest Presents: ‘Estranged’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Craig Conway, James Cosmo, Bob Duff, James Lance, Amy Manson, Faye McLoughlin, Eileen Nicholas, Nora-Jane Noone, Simon Quarterman, Joy Sanders | Written by William Borthwick, Simon Fantauzzo | Directed by Adam Levins


When January (Amy Manson) is almost killed in a traffic accident, she and her boyfriend Callum (Simon Quarterman) head to her family home. Suffering from amnesia she has no idea why she once left, never to return. Trying to remember her past she looks to her family and Callum for help. When he suddenly leaves though she’s left trapped with the family she doesn’t remember and a dark history that waits to be revealed.

For the first half of the film Estranged is a slow-paced movie with an ominous feel. There is an almost formulaic way that it fits into the same old structures of this type of story and when the past slowly starts to reveal itself it feels like there won’t be any shocks. With the disappearance of Callum though things start to take a dark turn and it gets very uncomfortable, almost to the point that it can be hard to watch.

With a family of psychopaths, a mother (Eileen Nicholas) who seems to be doped up to the eyeballs to cope with whatever is going on, and a butler (Craig Conway) who walks around looking on the verge of a mental breakdown, there is a mystery that keeps you gripped to Estranged. At points there is almost a feel of movies like Mum & Dad, and to a point these are similar films, but this one feels to have more of an impact. While Mum & Dad has a more fantastical feel to it, Estranged is very real and doesn’t need gore to hit home. If anything it gets a little too real and may be too much for some.

While Amy Manson puts on a good performance as January, and the cast as a whole do, the most dominant performance comes from James Cosmo as the father. He plays a role we are all familiar with, the so-called head of the house who almost has a tyrannical rule over the house, putting fear into all others who get in his way. With the events we see in the film, sometimes you have to feel for an actor like Cosmo, especially when he puts on such a good performance. While I won’t reveal just what his character does, you will most definitely hate him by the end of the movie, and feel no pity for him at all.

Estranged is one of those movies that disarms the audience by letting you think that this is just another horror film following the same routine to creep the audience out a little. When the credits role though and you have chance to let what you’ve seen sink it, you’ll feel very uncomfortable and find it hard to forget. Estranged is a very good, effective psychological horror that is hard to watch, but if you can handle it you’ll be left very impressed with what you’ve seen.

****½  4.5/5

Estranged is released on VOD in the UK from October 19th through FrightfestPresents.co.uk. Read the rest of our Frightfest Presents reviews by clicking on the posters below:

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Estranged review originally posted on PisssedOffGeek

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