Wake Wood (2011)
During the Nineteen Fifties through the Nineteen Sixties Hammer Film Productions were the king of horror with such films as the Horror of Dracula and The curse of Frankenstein. The term hammer horror refers to films made by Hammer, in Nineteen Eight-Four Hammer films ceased production. Wake Wood is the first film in thirty years from Hammer Films and a darn good one at that.
Wake wood directed by David Keating stars Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire) as Patrick and Eva Birthistle (Waking the Dead, The Children) as Louise Daly who have just lost their nine year old daughter Alice, played by Ella Connolly (Eliot and Me) to a vicious dog attack. To cope with the loss the two decide to move to a secluded village named wake wood. After Louise stumbles upon a ritual performed by the villagers, Arthur played by Timothy Spall (Harry Potter series) approaches the couple with an offer to bring their daughter back for three days the only requirement is that she not be taken out of Wake Wood and has been died for no more than a year. After lying about how long their daughter has been dead for, the villagers go on with the resurrection but soon thereafter the couple realizes that something is terribly wrong.
The plot of Wake Wood is simple and is pretty much a mash up of the Wicker Man and Pet Cemetery. With that being said the movie never drags, the pacing is spot on as it perfectly transitions between starting off as a drama and ending up a horror film. Although the pacing of the movie fits perfectly with the timeframe of the movie there are a few problems.
The first is that the film never really has time to establish any of the characters other than Patrick and Louis so when one of the villagers is killed, you never really care. Most of the deaths come back to back and as a result they all felt rushed. The other thing that time did not allow for is the development of belief. Both Patrick and Louise instantly agree to resurrect Alice although Patrick is skeptical at first it doesn’t take long for him to believe that his daughter can be resurrected from the dead.
Overall the film offers nothing new other than a really well thought out and inventive ritual. But with that being said Wake Wood is still a great little film that should be seen. The acting is good, the directing is nothing special but is still good and the set pieces are great. I recommend renting the film and here’s hoping that Hammer can continue to produce films that are enjoyable, 3 out of 5.