South London local Jennifer Sheridan, in the director’s chair on her feature film debut has made a compelling, isolated horror thriller that keeps you guessing right through mysterious the opening hour thanks to a false sense of security in a script written by co-lead, Matt Stokoe.
Set around a lone log cabin within an icy wilderness Stokoe as Sam, is a hunter of sorts checking traps for rabbits and other potential caught prey to bring back to devour with his wife Rose (Sophie Rundle, last seen in The Midnight Sky).
A burgeoning author with an old school typewriter on hand, it is indicated early that Rose has an unexplained condition, although when leeches are introduced and darkness adhered to inside the house, fragments of her delicate nature revealed through acute smell and hearing are sure to be of a sinister nature.
Their true love relationship is tested after a girl caught by an animal trap by the ankle is found by Sam, brought back in sympathy to dress her wounds.
Having a rare visitor upsets the routine of Rose, while the recovering girl, Amber, is understandably confused by this weird, reclusive couple obviously keeping something from her. A friendship between Amber and Sam develops, until it doesn’t.
The outcome is a slow burn intent on intimating the viewer with less than transparent storytelling, however atmospheric brooding locations alongside energetic situations of paranoia explains the sporadic bloodletting.
Sophie Rundle develops her character with restraint and intrigue.
With vitality, Olive Gray as injured Amber, adds another curious dimension. Frustratingly too many questions posed remain unanswered in Stokoes‘ script, not to mention a divisive final shot sure to leave some wondering. That’s the point, right?
Horror Thriller | UK, 2020 | 15 | Digital HD | 5th April 2021 (UK) | Signature Entertainment | Dir. Jennifer Sheridan | Sophie Rundle, Nathan McMullen, Matt Stokoe