Wake Wood (2011) | Hammer horror comes home in this chilly tale from beyond the grave

Wake Wood Quad

Hammer Films may have bitten the dust back in the late-1970s, but its legacy has lived on thanks to a 1980s TV series, spin-off magazines, conventions, and numerous blogs and fansites. And since 2011, a new Hammer has risen again to scare the pants off a new generation of horror audiences with the blockbuster chiller The Woman in Black, the lady-in-peril frightener The Resident, the vampire remake Let Me In, and the Irish rural horror Wake Wood, a creepily effective chiller screening today on BBC2 HD (1am).

Consumed by grief after the death of their daughter Alice, vet Patrick (Aidan Gillen) and his wife Louise (Eva Birthistle) relocate to the village of Wake Wood to begin life anew. But they stumble on a big secret: the locals, led by Timothy Spall‘s unofficial mayor, are using ancient rituals to raise the dead for just three days, exactly one year after their death. But when the couple convince the locals to bring Alice back to life, they refuse to keep to the rules – which means big trouble…

Wake Wood

Wake Wood is very much in the tradition of Hammer of old, something the film-makers wanted to honour. The Faustian theme and resurrection storyline is reminiscent of Dracula and The Curse of Frankenstein, while its contemporary rural setting recalls Hammer’s 1966 satantic tale The Witches. But it more closely resembles Don’t Look Now and The Wicker Man owing to its themes of pagan rituals and the death of a child.

Wake Wood

When it comes to shocks, the supernatural folk horror is a slow-burner; and what gore there is actually detracts from the chill that permeates every scene. But the film’s suspenseful storyline is helped enormously by the performances of the cast, especially young Ella Connolly, who is subtle, but sinister as Alice, and Timothy Spall, who is quietly effective as the good natured pagan laird (though I did expect him to ham it up).


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on December 21, 2013, in Hammer-Amicus-Tigon, Horror, Might See, Might-See and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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