If you like your ‘Going- Into-the-Woods’ tales with a touch of blood, this film is for you. It’s The Wicker Man meets Blood on Satan’s Claw, splattered with mystique and small town creepy. In fact, it’s so horror-ific it’s practically fun!
Claire (Cassandra Magrath) is a policewoman in an Australian city whose life is put on hold when she’s suspended from her job. There are unanswered questions surrounding the death of a troubled youth and she was the only one present in his final moments. As she struggles with the fall-out from this drama, she receives a call from her uncle. Her father has died and she has to return to the town of her birth.
When she arrives, she discovers the population has dwindled and the usually bustling streets are deserted. The only place she can find open is a bar. When she goes inside, her drink has already been poured. The server feigns cordiality but there’s rancor in the air. When Claire tries to leave, a lawman questions her presence.
She searches for equilibrium but an eeriness pervades the town that she just can’t fathom. When she probes, the locals fall silent. She learns little more from her uncle, whose presence poses more questions than it answers. She becomes convinced that somehow her father’s passing is connected to the death of the mother she lost years before.
She knows she should leave but her memories keep telling her she can’t. So she stays and drifts into the shadows of what she fears she’s doomed to become.
The film starts off by lining up a series of ducks and nothing is made clear. However, it’s obvious that this is intentional on the part of the filmmakers and the story becomes one of intrigue. As secrets are revealed, there are plenty of aha! moments and, each time, those ducks are sent flying. But even when things start to make sense, the inhabitants keep reminding us how out of place they all in their peculiar world.
Claire has been a square peg in a round hole her entire life, which is why she’s forced to take her journey alone. She searches for the demons she needs to confront, but the more she struggles, the less things fall into place. Attempts are made to make her a victim but she resists so vehemently that she becomes a powerful figure. It’s fight or flight and she chooses the former. She’s driven by something within, which is understood by no one but the audience, who are the only ones that matter.
One to watch but not alone!