Twisted Dark Fairy Tale
by Brody Rossiter
After relocating to a rural Irish village to study the surrounding woodland, conservationist Adam and his family receive a hostile reception from the locals. However, disgruntled villagers are the least of their worries when the ancient forest neighbouring their new home begins to take exception to Adam’s trespasses.
Director Corin Hardy’s debut feature adopts a distinctly scientific approach to nightmarish fairy tales, taking mythical creatures and personifying them inside horrific physical forms. It doesn’t take long for Adam and his wife Clare to learn of the locals’ concerns regarding the “spirits” lurking in the shadows. As warnings grow more threatening and the couple begin to worry for the safety of their son, Adam believes his disgruntled neighbours are the source of his family’s woes – the reality is far more terrifying.
The couple are quickly besieged by an aggressive organism that devours everything it comes into contact with. The sludgy black fungus that rots floorboards, floods the engine of Adam’s car and seemingly not only consumes, but drastically alters the genetic makeup of living things, is merely a warning sign, signalling the emergence of the disturbing creatures it has spawned over centuries.
Adam and Clare are soon thrust into a harrowing battle to protect their baby son and somehow survive the night against the forest’s malevolent residents. As character’s physical forms are penetrated by creature’s born from wonderfully gruesome practical effects combined with limited CGI, the bodily horrors begin to take hold and fester. Picture Carpenter’s The Thing relocated to a bewitched Raimi-esque forest of horrors. Resistance grows ever more futile, but the couples love for their son and one another forces them deeper and deeper into the dark, deadly and squirm-inducing night.