Wake Wood (2009) Movie Review
Written By: TJ
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: David Keating
Producers: John McDonnell, Brendan McCarthy, Magnus Paulsson
Writers: David Keating, Brendan McCarthy
Date Released: September 25, 2009
Aiden Gillen as Patrick
Eva Birthistle as Louise
Ella Connolly as Alice
Timothy Spall as Arthur
Amelia Crowley as Mary Brogan
Ruth McCabe as Peggy O’Shea
Brian Gleeson as Martin O’Shea
Rating: 4/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
A year after losing their daughter to a vicious dog, still grieving couple Patrick (Aidan Gillen) and Louise (Eva Birthistle) decide to relocate to a remote town called Wake Wood. One night, they stumble upon a local pagan ritual bringing a dead person back to life. The town leader, Arthur (Timothy Spall), offers them to see their daughter again for three more days, as long as the couple will stay and serve for the town for the rest of their lives. Arthur strictly reminds them as well, that their daughter shouldn’t be dead for more than a year. Desperate to be with their only child, the couple lie and tell Arthur that it hasn’t been a year since their daughter died. The cult then start the ritual and by the middle of the night, the couple is hugging their daughter as if she’s newborn. Now, things started to go unwell, and everything points back to the child and the couple are being charged more than what they have bargain for.
Wake Wood (2009) does not need to rely on needless gore to tell a good story. However, there are a few scenes that will leave you a little squeamish so there is surely something for everyone. These scenes carry more realistic violence rather than unnecessary gore details. We can see here a scene involving the birthing of a cattle, how hard the C-section can be to a large animal, what more to the fragile body of Louise, implying why she can’t have another child. Aside from that, there are also shots of a skinned dog as the first victim of the daughter, up to her last where she pulled the heart out of a woman using her bare hand. The film surely follows an old-school buildup of tension while also introducing modern flashes of gory imagery. For prosthetic and makeup, their department does not need to try so hard because the film as a whole is already good enough.
The Grave Review
Coming from a British horror studio called Hammer, Wake Wood (2009) adds to the list of best films that pride the said company. Garnering positive reviews from critics and audience, the film proves that it has a compelling story supported by talented cast and creative production. Somewhat similar to Stephen King’s Pet Semetary, the ensuing madness is brilliantly handled and will leave you with hovering sense of unease.
Wake Wood starts with a gloomy and cold opening scene, setting the tone of the film to a tragically beautiful ambience. From the very beginning, viewers’ emotions are subtly tugged at and heightened as the film goes, giving the credit to a well-crafted cinematography. Camera angles are chosen carefully to subliminally imply a message. One particular shot is when Louise is walking home after someone she doesn’t know tells her that her daughter has a lovely voice. In this shot, her background is a battered and grimy house, amplifying her messed-up thoughts and state. Moreover, the film cinematically tells a sad story alone by maintaining the eerie silence of the setting.
Another powerful aspect of this film is the meticulous choice of actors. I love how Aiden Gillen took my sympathy as the loving husband and father that he’s willing to cross his own boundaries just to see his family whole again. Eva Birthistle got on my nerves when she cannot see that her husband is trying hard to make her happy, this just means that she is an effective actress as well. Timothy Spall, whom I first saw in Harry Potter films, is cheerful, condescending, and sinister in equal parts, which I am not used to so maybe that’s the reason why I liked his performance here because he has been given another angle of limelight. Everyone else has given their best and I commend all of them.
What I love the most about this film is the story itself. I guess we can all relate to the grief of losing a loved one, and what Patrick and Louise have done might be our decision too. The story invested heavily on tugging at our emotions by showing us the world without the person that makes it colorful. The only thing I am disappointed at is the fact that they didn’t emphasize so much on the rules of the deal, lessening the impact of tension, but that is a forgivable mistake. In conclusion, Wake Wood cultivates a placid acceptance of birth and death, and the dead will absolutely be best left buried.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Wake Wood (2009) four graves out of five graves.
Do you agree with our review? Comment below.