THE FORGOTTEN (2016)

9 out of 10

Release Date: 2nd May 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Oliver Frampton

Cast: Shaun Dingwall, Clem Tibber, Elarica Johnson, James Doherty, Jennifer Matter, Paul Marlon and Lyndsey Marshal

Writer: Oliver Frampton & Ian Hall

Trailer:THE FORGOTTEN (2016)

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Here’s a potent chiller of the kind that comes along all too rarely. The Forgotten (2016) is a brilliant twist on the ‘things that go bump in the night’ breed of haunted house movie. This excels at building an atmosphere of unease and fear, and thankfully it maintains the fright level right up until it’s ending, which left me distraught.

The less said about the plot the better, and even watching the trailer will reveal some juicy bits. So if like me you went in cold, The Forgotten could become your favourite supernatural film of the decade. Yes, it has that much power.

Tommy (CLEM TIBBER – CHROMOPHOBIA) and his father Mark (SHAUN DINGWALL – HUSH) squat in a derelict high rise flat on a London estate due for demolition. All the flats are boarded up to stop squatters breaking in. So what’s making that ungodly racket in the next flat in the dead of night. What does it all mean?

That’s all I’m giving you, but what I can say is that the film is a success largely due to an excellent young cast – Elrica Johnson (AFTERDEATH) as Tommy’s friend Carmen is particularly good. The location and score are ‘a-class’ as well.

It’s almost perfect but the one element that discounts it is one I can’t discuss without revealing a rather large plot point. All the same watch this, pass it on to your friends and tell them that this is the very best in lower-budget UK cinema at the moment. Something this good at this level comes along once in a blue moon.

9 out of 10 – I urge you to see this sad supernatural drama, boosted by amazing performances from the young leads. Seek it out, before it finds you…

Another review below by Matt ‘The Forgetful’ Usher

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “THE FORGOTTEN (2016)

  1. Review by Matt Usher

    Please see this film! Try to ignore the terrible (though, as it turns out, pertinent) title. And disregard the DVD cover which makes it look like a found footage exorcist yarn. Maybe these marketing ploys work – I hope so, but they fail to indicate what the film is like both in terms of quality and subject. It would be easy to pass this film by, indeed it has passed by, ignored by the cinemas. And that’s a huge shame because this isn’t some formulaic horror. I can’t say too much about what the film is without giving stuff away, but what it isn’t: cheap, stupid, aimed at idiots, blood-soaked, gore-soaked, bad, predictable, boring. It’s a film deserving of a better title, and of a much more distinctive position in the market place; it’s unusually intelligent, thoughtful, scary and haunting (in at least two senses).

    So, behold my least spoiler-strewn plot summary in years. We’re in Film Four territory (early 90s incarnation) in a good way. It’s all derelict flats, drab estates, gritty thespians and spooky rooms, with Shaun Dingwall looking sad or serious and playing a semi-legitimate copper-stripping type person who’s returned to an estate he lived on some years earlier. The copper-stripping business must be quite poorly paid as he squats in one of the flats (the one he used to live in, in fact) and has brought Tommy, his son (who has been living with an aunt recently – his mother is mysteriously absent) along for company. Alas Tommy is a teenager and therefore sensitive, artistic and monosyllabic. And there’s no power in the flat. Or windows. Or furniture. It’s spooky enough even before all the spooky stuff starts.

    So some spooky stuff starts. Meanwhile, Carmen, the girl from the local café befriends Tommy. (Usually in this sort of film the hero and some girl form an utterly arbitrary bond which is little more than an excuse for the hero to have a (usually female) sidekick. Here, though, there’s more to it, and it enhances the film and gives it scope.) Meanwhile, Tommy’s dad has a bruising run-in with an angry pimp. We learn the truth about Tommy’s mum. Meanwhile the flat gets spookier, with things moving mysteriously about and mysterious sounds emerging from the walls. It seems that something very odd, mysterious and spooky might be going on in the flat next door too. Tommy and Carmen uncover the truth of course, but soon wish they hadn’t.

    There, that’s vague enough I think.

    THE FORGOTTEN works mainly because it’s gimmick-free (actually that’s not the reason it works, but its gimmicklessness helps hugely in establishing a straightforward world for the story to occur in). There’s no interest whatsoever in bamboozling the viewer; the director (Oliver Frampton) isn’t showing off. It’s simply a matter of telling a story (co-written by Frampton and James Hall) straight. I’d even suggest that they’re not even trying to scare the audience, it’s just that the story they’re telling happens to be scary, spooky, sad and disturbing anyway, so the film is all those things without crowing about it.

    The actors are all in down to earth mode. Shaun Dingwall is excellent as the not up to scratch dad, whilst Clem Tibber is the epitome of adolescent awkwardness as Tommy. He manages to be both sympathetic and a teenager simultaneously. Elarica Johnson plays Carmen, the girl next door character, and is much better than that description might suggest – she may be a name to watch out for. And there are beautifully judged turns from Lyndsey Marshal (in a small role but the pivotal one) and James Doherty (a useful but underused actor whose grisly end in INBRED was memorable).

    Visually the film is very simple: it’s all bricks and concrete and dull everydayishness, which makes the advent of a red room even more oppressive. Sometimes it gets too dark (I mean literally, a torch would have come in handy several times). This is an urban ghost story in the best sense, rooted in the genuinely everyday and banal. But it’s also very traditional (no ghosts in the wi-fi playing Pokemon Go). To say that THE FORGOTTEN is a traditional ghost story may sound like damning it with faint praise (or no praise). And I suppose if it fails anywhere it’s only in that the ghost story genre is relatively limited (I think all ghost stories probably fall into one of these categories: they’re a warning; they’re out for revenge; they’re trying to save you; they’re not the ghost, you are; they’re from the future; it’s all a loop; it’s not a ghost at all it’s really aliens / kids next door). Certainly THE FORGOTTEN fits into at least one of those categories, but the important thing is it’s very, very creepy, and at times properly scary (by ‘properly’ I don’t mean stupid cat jumping out of the cupboard moments, I mean that it stays with you afterwards, perhaps making turning the lights out a little unnerving). And it’s also a film which has that rare ability to connect with your own childhood fears. Possibly the scariest moment when I was relatively little was the night I went downstairs to let the dog in (our house was on three levels) and as I turned I saw the silhouette of a man standing outside the front door (OK, it was just the fat teenage kid from next door drunkenly trying to get into the wrong house) but somehow the film conjured up that long-sleeping memory. None of which has much to do with the film other than it somehow has a way of dealing with the past and things long believed forgotten.

    This is a scary, sad, understated, unsettling film, totally and utterly and completely unsuitable for the audience it’s being aimed at, and it’s a shame, a scandal, and a crime that THE FORGOTTEN did not receive at least a token cinema release, it deserves to be seen more widely and (forgive the snobbery) more seriously.

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