What’s this? A family move out to a big creepy old house in the woods? And VERY SCARY THINGS start to happen? Goodness, that sounds original.
Sarcasm aside, this admittedly derivative piece of horror silliness does have some quality on its side and a strong cast. Ed Stoppard and Sophia Myles, two very talented and frequently underrated British actors, play parents who hope they can build a life for themselves and their little boy by having a fresh start. Stoppard’s character has become addicted to prescription drugs and Myles is pissed off with him. The move is a form of rehabilitation for the family but, as you may have guessed, not everything goes well.
The horror aspect and manipulation of the timing of events has been done better before (The Shining, for example, and Nick Murphy’s The Awakening), but the characters are so engaging (including supporting appearances from Paul Kaye, Greg Wise and Russell Tovey) it is easy to be swept along for the ride.
The images director Adam Wimpenny brings to the screen are frequently beautiful and the tension and sense of threat is cranked up effectively even if the ball is dropped in the final act. It’s an enjoyably chilly, if forgettable, horror film that would have done better with a Halloween/early Christmas release rather than in the middle of a summer heatwave.
Blackwood (2013), directed by Adam Wimpenny, is released in UK cinemas by Wildcard Film Distribution, Certificate 15.