Updated: Jun 1
Escape from Cannibal Farm and The Barge People director Charlie Steeds' An English Haunting is a thrilling, demonic mystery ride that delivers a few cliché moments, but also some fresh scares. It's immersive plot will be sure to keep you thinking and anticipating each new scene of the movie. If you want a fresh look at either "devil worship" or a routine haunt story, be sure to check out this one released earlier this month from High Fliers Films in the UK and High Octane Pictures here in the states!
In the film, we're introduced to Blake (David Lenik) and his mother, Margot (Tessa Wood), being driven through a desolate area of England where the nearest neighbor is nearly 20 miles away. This is the house Margot was raised in and it's where they were asked to come take care of her father, Aubrey (Barrington De La Roche). She is extremely bitter towards her father from what happened in her childhood, but she is there to stay in the house for free, despite her childhood nightmares lurking around every corner. A lead nurse looking after the care of Aubrey tells the family that he had some sort of episode, taking a turn for the worst and he needs family around him. The nurse that was originally supposed to care for him ran off without even taking her belongings. She specifically was told by the nurse that Aubrey was creepy and just wasn't able to be consoled, which didn't surprise Margot in the slightest even though it made her uneasy.
Walking through the hallway, an old train chugs then stops just in front of Blake, and his mother is extremely bitter and nasty about her father and his possessions when he shows her. She reminds him that he was into occult things that ran off her mother and that he was pretty cruel to them both. She had to admit that he was unusually kind to Blake as a child though, as he was trying to defend his grandfather he did actually have fond memories of. Having a rough time acclimating to this strange house in the essential middle of nowhere with a sick grandparent, Blake attempts to sleep, but is awakened to the sound of music coming from his violin and disembodied voices whispering "Jacob". Nervously walking through the house, he finds a figure playing his violin in the same room he was just playing it in hours before. Waking up from this nightmare after the figure turned and screamed in his face, the first thing he does is check his violin the next morning; and it's disappeared. Desperate to find his violin, he decides to walk around the grounds like the person in his nightmare was doing, when he finds a rugged woman running into the woods and his violin broken.
From being in the house and her own secrets, his mother, Margot, can't resist to help herself to his wine which upsets Blake, who wants more of his mother than a drunken version of her. His father, recently separated (not divorced, weren't married) from his mother, drives all the way out to the house to see the state of them both and argues with Margot that she should let him have freedom and go live life. His father soon leaves, wanting to take Blake but he wants to stay to take care of his mother and grandfather. Getting away from the argument, Blake starts listening to recordings done by his grandfather and finds an entry about getting a boy who refused to speak from the woods inside the house.
In an effort to unwind from the chaotic day, Blake and his mother dance to a song together as Aubrey's dying. His death scene was actually quite interesting and the scene of a spirit penetrating the entire house was chilling. It was a question of Jacob haunting the house or Aubrey's spirit coming to haunt his daughter who's been routinely cold to and about him ever since she arrived. I loved the Stanley Kubrick style flashes of images on the screen and while the tape recording was playing it was an extra creepy aesthetic touch. The next day no one suspects anything's really happened except the nurse says he just has muscle spasms when his hand keeps moving frantically as if he had Parkinson's. After the nurse leaves from her usual weekly checkup, Blake sets paper under Aubrey's hand and finally starts to unravel the mystery of everything going on at his grandfather's house and with his grandfather himself. An evil plot is also uncovered as well as the mystery of what happened to the first nurse who "ran off."
Dark Temple Motion Pictures presents An English Haunting, a demonic ghost story with a murder mystery plot is not one to miss! There is such a great aura of the film with the older style British home and the creepiness of the individual himself, while also showing the sadness the characters were internally facing that is brought up through the film too. There was actually quite a lot going on and all the different puzzle pieces and mysteries really kept me interested. The makeup on Jacob is fantastic and so Phantom of the Opera-esque, and that's always usually a winner for me. It had a well written story surrounding all the events too with the recent separation of Blake's parents that made this one of my more favorite B movie releases recently. It wasn't too long of a movie but they truly put a LOT of effort and work into this film and it truly does show they are passionate for their craft. I genuinely look forward to what else this director and company releases for the future.