Monday, 8 October 2012


“Where there is no imagination there is no horror.” - Arthur Conan Doyle

At the weekend we watched a British thriller of 2011, Julian Gilbey’s “A Lonely Place to Die” starring Alec Newman, Ed Speleers and Melissa George. The famous “Hammer Horror” British films of the 1960s and 1970s gave way to what was pretty much of a vacuum, but there is now resurgence of British thrillers like the “The Descent" of 2005 and “Eden Lake” of 2008, and of course the film I started reviewing.

The brothers Julian and Will Gilbey co-write the screen play, which Julian then directed. The remote location and lack of well-known actors probably contributed to why this film was overlooked and was relegated to the bottom shelves of the video stores. Interestingly, this low budget movie with the basic sounding plot hides a tense and disturbing thriller that builds well and engages the viewer. The film opens harmlessly enough, but soon, the shocks begin to follow one another and despite the poor dialogue and less than optimal characterisation, the film chugs along.

Melissa George plays a rock-climber who together with some of her friends go climbing in he beautiful rocky wilds of Scotland. Quite accidentally, they stumble across a little Serbian girl buried alive in a tiny subterranean chamber in the woods. They rescue her and try to go for help but discover that they’re not alone. They are pursued by the kidnappers and the second half of the movie loses its low-key creepiness and subtle horror to an all out gun-fest with lots of gore and blood.

The acting was solid enough from everyone although the highlight was Melissa George in her leading performance. Ms George does not deliver an outstanding performance, but on the other hand she is not playing Shakespeare either… The little girl played by Holly Boyd is a scene stealer and manages the right mix of emotions and demands placed on her by her role. The villains are quite scary characters and played with gusto by Sean Harris and Stephen McCole.

Sure, one has to suspend belief once or twice (well maybe three or four times…), but after all this is a thriller and unless the characters do silly things to put themselves at risk there would be no movie. It was interesting to see the scenes of the Celtic street festival in the village towards the end of the film. I was reminded of “The Wicker Man”  and the director/writer obviously introduced these scenes as a means of introducing some (unnecessary) naked flesh in the movie. They were quite spectacular scenes, though and despite their unlikelihood in the context shown, they made the chase more interesting.

It’s a good enough film to watch for mindless entertainment value, and with a little tighter script and maintenance of the creepy, understated tension of the beginning and a more intense and better thought out ending, it would have been an outstanding thriller. As it is, it is a B-grade tense little horror movie, with the blood and gore taking over the second half. Watch it at your discretion, especially if you are acrophobic!

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