Wake Wood is one of those horror movies were you just come away feeling glum…not because it was bad or anything but because it’s just such a downer. There are few feel-good moments in this movie with even the way it’s filmed giving it a darker edge.
Patrick (played by Aidan Gillen for Game of Thrones fans) & his wife Louise move to Wakewood after their young daughter Alice is killed by a large dog. The pair are really struggling to get past the loss with their marriage on the rocks…you see after a difficult birth with Alice, Louise is unable to have any more children.
Patrick is a veterinarian working for Arthur (played by the excellent Timothy Spall); a likable man who can see his colleague & friend is hurting. One night while driving home with Louise, Patrick’s car breaks down & the pair walk to Arthur’s nearby house. Finding no-one home Louise goes around the back & witnesses a ritual that appears to bring a man back from the dead. The ritual is led by Arthur who notices Louise watching from afar.
Confronting the couple later, Arthur tells them about the ritual & how it can raise the dead but under certain rules.
It can raise the dead but:
1. It only lasts for 3 days.
2. The resurrected can’t go beyond the boundaries of the town.
3. The person has to have been dead less than a year.
Excited to see their daughter again the couple agree to the rules & Alice is resurrected. At first everything seems perfect but something isn’t quite right with the child….did she come back alone?
Wake Wood is a slow burning mystery & horror that makes for a thrilling watch. Deep down you know the parents aren’t going to be able to part with their daughter for a second time & as the day draws near the anxiety felt within the duo is shared equally with the viewer.
The final third of the movie does devolve as the reality that Alice just isn’t right becomes apparent. Alice’s rampage through the town lacks any real punch & you never feel a sense of urgency from Arthur or Louise. The reasoning behind why she is different to the others that have been brought back is smart but you can’t help but feel like more backstory surrounding it would have helped.
Most of the acting is top-notch with both Patrick & Louise being very convincing as grieving parents still in love but struggling to really connect anymore. Alice is well played for a child but doesn’t convey enough creepiness for me. The major disappointment comes from Timothy Spall’s Arthur who sleepwalks his way through an uninteresting role designed to fill in the blanks of the plot where necessary.
A good movie that works tension & mystery into a good horror dealing with loss & desperation. What would you give to see your loved one again…a chance to say goodbye properly?