During a historical black and white beginning, it’s 1665 as the opening scroll informs us, year of ‘the great plague’ before moving forward into the happily married life of Grace (Charlotte Kirk) and Joseph (Joe Anderson) until tragedy occurs.
The dire situation of Grace Haverstock finding her hanging husband after taking his own life when succumbing to the fatal virus sends her to bury him before attempting to continue his legacy without any help of the local townsfolk.
A Neanderthal landlord is no help. Sadly, it’s rough times all round for women.
Dealing with high trauma, Grace also experiences horrific dreams and demonic visions putting her less into mourning solace, then is suspected of potential necromancy.
Also, as a mum, frighteningly her baby is a target for the horrendous people out to frame her as a possible witch during an era when spellcasting accused are strung up in public and thrown into dungeon style cell blocks until trial by a travelling witch-finder general on his way to town.
Grace claiming her innocence is what much of the gruelling film is about.
It’s less horror, more drama intertwined with bloodthirsty moments including death by horse and cart;
set to an inspiring Christopher Drake score, of classic pipe organs, strings and choirs bellowing traditionally on the soundtrack.
Committed and effective as suffering Grace, determined to live for her child and late husband, Charlotte Kirk shows female dominance, handy with a musket on horseback blazing away in period hat and coat.
Veteran Sean Pertwee (Event Horizon) as the snarling, feared witch-finder is an individual treat.
After slowly building, the final twenty-five minute onslaught, is worth the wait.
Horror | UK, 2020 | 15 | Shudder | 13th May 2021 | Dir.Neil Marshall | Charlotte Kirk, Sean Pertwee, Steven Waddington, Joe Anderson, Ian Whyte