4 out of 10
Release Date: 1st August 2014
Director: Adam Wimpenny
Cast: Ed Stoppard, Sophia Myles, Russell Tovey, Paul Kaye, Isaac Andrews, Joanna Vanderham and Greg Wise
Writer: JS Hill
Famous TV historian Ben Marshall (ED STOPPARD – PAPADOPOULOS AND SONS) has relocated his family to the titular countryside pile after a violent nervous breakdown. Now in recovery and with a new job at a local university as a lecturer he begins to suffer from vivid hallucinations at his new house. Are his pills too strong, or are ghosts trying to contact him? Could it be the that spooky gamekeeper (RUSSELL TOVEY – PRIDE), the former marine turned priest (PAUL KAYE – IT’S ALL GONE PETE TONG) and his best friend from the past (GREG WISE – EFFIE GRAY) are keeping secrets from him.
With a larger budget and a better calibre of actor present than in most britpics it would be reasonable to expect a degree of quality from Blackwood. Whilst it has more ideas than the redundant THE WOMAN IN BLACK sequel (another recent haunted house film) it still lacks the crucial scares. After building up the creepy atmosphere at the beginning the makers seem to forget to maintain the tension. A ghost story turns into a sleuth/amateur detective story before trying something ‘new’ but stupid. Blackwood seems to exist for it’s sleight of hand in the plot and sadly the proceedings don’t earn the right to try something new. The resolution as well as the journey are disappointing as scene after scene runs out of steam. Better films and TV shows are funnelled in like Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage, and weirdly enough Midsomer Murders. The hero is insufferable, unsympathetic and cruel, I just wanted him to die most of the way through and that’s another one of the film’s problems. Most of the other characters are ciphers with the wife (SOPHIA MYLES – TRANSFORMERS 4) and son (ISAAC ANDREWS) stock types. Kaye and Tovey belong in Scooby Doo.
Blackwood gains a higher rating than normal because it looks like a real film. Somebody’s spent a lot of money on finding the perfect location, the production values, a good score and ace cinematography. It’s a shame it’s got such nice window dressing because the actual shop is empty.
4 out of 10 – Clunky haunted house film with a ludicrous twist in the tale. Disappointing and flat.
Another review below by Matt Usher!
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Ed Stoppard: Youth (2016), Cryptic, Ruby – The Young Witch, Cilla (TV), Papadopoulos and Sons, Upstairs Downstairs (TV), Nanny McPhee 2, Joy Division, Bridehead Revisited (2008), The Pianist, The Little Vampire
- Sophia Myles: Transformers 4, Outlander, Hallam Foe, Tristan + Isolde, Underworld 2, Underworld, From Hell, Guest House Paradiso, Mansfield Park (1999)
- Russell Tovey: Effie Gray, Pride (2014), Muppets Most Wanted, Grabbers, Tower Block, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (voice), Huge, The History Boys, Being Human (TV)
- Paul Kaye: Lillyhammer (TV), Dracula Untold, 8 Minutes Idle, Pusher (2012), Malice In Wonderland, Anuvahood, The Infidel, The Big I Am, Cass, Blackball, It’s All Gone Pete Tong, Cody Banks 2, Very Important Dennis Pennis (TV)
- Joanna Vanderham: What Maisie Knew
- Greg Wise: Effie Gray, Walking On Sunshine, The Disappeared, Morris – A Life With Bells On, A Cock and Bull Story, Johnny English, Mad Cows, Feast Of July, Sense and Sensibility