6.5 out 10
Release Date: 17th October 2010
Cast: David Schofield, Ruth Gemmell, Eliza Bennett, Finlay Robertson, Juliet Aubrey, Max Fowler, Emma Cleasby, Christopher Adamson with Tom Mannion and Roxanne McKee
Writer: Johannes Roberts
Here’s a slasher thriller for haters of the nanny state. Or is it the opposite? Will those that read the Daily Mail and pledge to it’s creed that everybody is secretly out to kill you, especially anyone under the age of 20, be agog? Do you despair at the lack of discipline in our schools? Did you blame the government for last years looting sprees? Well its unlikely that anyone with an over imaginative social conscience will seek out commentaries in seemingly generic slasher flicks. But here we have one. At least to begin with.
David Schofield (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 1 to 3) plays a teacher who is let down by the system after he is head-butted by a pupil in class. The school instead back the student and suggest our man take the rest of the term off. Eleven months later, we catch up with him to find he can barely control his classes through fear of attack and has developed a drinking problem. We think his wife (JULIET AUBREY – STILL CRAZY) has recently left him due to the pressure as well. On top of this, the teacher’s daughter (ELIZA BENNETT – INK HEART) is beginning to side with the students. One evening after a run in with the headmistress (RUTH GEMMELL – OFFENDER) after putting his daughter in detention, the school comes under siege from faceless hoodies intent on causing destruction and to leave all and sundry dead in their wake. To make things even worse, to begin with, only the discredited Schofield believes the school has been invaded. His daughter goes missing and everyone else is getting stalked and killed by a heavy breathing force of deadly, ghostly attackers.
This film is mostly effective in the opening stages with the interfaces between Schofield and the headmistress bringing into question the credibility of the former. The slow build does well to establish the main characters. With the very slim running time (under 80 mins including credits) little attention is given up to the other teachers who are pure knife fodder. Tom Mannion (IRIS) is an early victim as a woodwork teacher with an equally unhealthy attitude to his charges. Is work in such short supply that good established actors are lining up for the chop and a handful of lines that amount to “Hello?” and “Who’s There?”…. Anyway, I digress. Is F scary? Is it any good? Are their enough frights on hand to recommend this? Yes to all of the these.
On the whole F is competent and the scares are all present. Eventhough the violence occurs off screen in most cases, F is gorier than most recent horror flicks, with two particularly mangled members of staff sticking out. One early death by fire is aptly upsetting. So yes it works where it should, perhaps too well.
What sets F apart is the very interesting way in which the film is left to resolve itself. Without giving anything away, it does throw open a few neat possibilities and at the same time a life or death dilemna. I’ve read reviews that say this film has no ending but they have misunderstood everything that has gone before and one particular interpretation of events fits in perfectly. I, for one, am sick of convention in these kinds of films and was bowled over by this narrative departure. Hopefully I haven’t overcooked the outcome but after forty minutes of genre convention it was a brave move by the makers to try something new. The director Johannes Roberts went on to make the alien invasion flick Storage 24, that whilst enjoyable, didn’t have any new tricks up it’s sleeves. Maybe he / she paid too much attention to F’s detractors and played safe with their follow up.
6.5 out of 10 – 40 minutes of slasher film conventions book ended with intelligent arguments about discipline in schools and a very unsettling ending. Recommended for a great lead performance from (what have I seen him in-face) David Schofield.
Thanks to my friend Safron for recommending it to me….
**SHOCKER – ANOTHER FILM THAT JOE PESCI II LIKES — SEE COUNTER REVIEW BELOW***
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- David Schofield: Da Vinci’s Demons (TV), The Last Passenger, All Things To All Men, Ghosted, Burke and Hare, Devil’s Bridge, The Pirates Of The Caribbean 1 – 3, The Wolfman, Valkyrie, The Musketeer, From Hell, Gladiator (2000), Anna Karenina (1997), An American Werewolf In London
- Ruth Gemmell: Offender, Storage 24, Fever Pitch
- Eliza Bennett: Broadchurch (TV), Roadkill (2015), Confine, Inkheart, Nanny McPhee, The Prince and Me
- Finlay Robertson: Hammer Of The Gods
- Juliet Aubrey: Lillyhammer (TV), Iris, The Constant Gardener, Still Crazy, Welcome To Sarajevo,
- Emma Cleasby: Soulmate, Doomsday, Dog Soldiers
- Christopher Adamson: The Sleeping Room, All Things To All Men, Mutant Chronicles, The Last Horror Movie, Evil Aliens, The Ballad Of Mangal Pandey, Lighthouse, Razor Blade Smile, Judge Dredd (1995), Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Beyond Bedlam, Dirty Weekend, The Young Americans
- Tom Mannion: Centurion, Brothers (Denmark), Iris, Beautiful Creatures, Croupier, That Sinking Feeling
- Roxanne McKee: The Legend of Hercules, Ironclad 2, Vendetta, Wrong Turn 5, Game Of Thrones (TV), Hollyoaks (TV)