Waking The Dead
by Brody Rossiter
After their daughter is violently killed during a vicious dog attack, veterinarian Patrick (Aidan Gillen) and pharmacist Louise (Eva Birthistle) retreat to the Irish countryside in an attempt to come to terms with their loss. Patrick seemingly finds solace in his work, becoming a valued member of the local farming community. However, Louise is still overcome by the loss of her only child, unable to let go of Alice’s memory.
Despite the sleepy appearance of the rural town, its tranquility only disturbed by the heavy revolutions of the towering wind turbines that encircle it, a dark secret walks its streets. Patrick and Louise are made aware of an ancient ritual that may grant them a reunion with their daughter – whether they can truly pay the price for the return of their daughter is another matter.
Wake Wood is punctuated visceral flashes of violence. Sharp and bloody shocks suddenly disturb the peace, offering startling reminders that all is not well. Director David Keating draws comparisons with classic horror tales such as The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now, narratives which focus on the grief which fills the void of a lost child. Despite the obvious lack of budget, the films startlingly twists and emotionally potency are gripping enough to hold your attention to the film’s ritualistic finale.
Wake Wood may well occupy familiar territory for provincial British and Irish horror, but strong lead performances, including a creepy turn from Timothy Spall, ensure it breaks enough new ground to capture the imagination and drag you deep beneath the surface.