Review: Wake Wood (2011)

Directed by David Keating, Wake Wood is the latest film from the recently revived Hammer Film Productions, and stars Timothy Spall, Aidan Gillen, Eva Birthistle and Dan Gordon.

The film centers on the parents of a girl killed by a savage dog who are granted the opportunity to spend three days with their deceased daughter.

Whilst there are a few distinctly stale looking shots that disclose the paltry budget, there’s enough directorial flair from Keating to overcome any unfortunate imperfections, and make him a filmmaker worth keeping an eye on.

The special effects are mostly retro and wonderfully eerie, and though not the most visually memorable horror production, it does engender a suitably unpleasant sense of foreboding, artfully ushering classic Hammer conventions into the 21st century.

The screenplay, however, doesn’t hold up to much analysis, often falling foul to erroneous cliches, but it’s nonetheless a boisterous and disconcerted piece that thrills from start to finish.

Gillen and Birthistle each deliver suitably grim and tormented performances as the grieving couple, while Spall manages to reign in his borderline over-the-top performance to a level of creepiness that chills more than you’d think possible.

Wake Wood is a sly, compelling and notably spooky British horror that astutely reintroduces classic Hammer conventions into modern cinema.