Saturday 10 February 2018

Dead and Awake

d./w. Alexander Fodor; p. Paul Allan-Slade, Kevin Phelan, Parvez Zabier; cast: Funda Onal, Jason Wing, Ian Alexander, Ryan Ebling, Renate Morley, Emmy Proctor, Bruce Wang, Carmen Coupeau Borras, Nadira Murray

Stunningly confident and accomplished, this stylish, intriguing, gripping horror feature should be much, much better known. When her car (with dead husband in the boot) breaks down, a young woman finds herself among a group of criminals whose kidnap of a teenage girl has gone fatally wrong. They don’t trust each other and are all scared of unseen client ‘The Skincrawler’. Fodor’s script and direction never take the easy, safe or lazy option, creating an enigmatic film packed with fascinating, shadowy characters, twisted relationships, and a jigsaw narrative. Subplots of mind control and psychic powers mentioned in the synopsis are neither obvious nor necessary, to be honest. Gorgeous cinematography by Isaiah McAye and skilful editing by Fodor himself are topped by simply the best sound design I've encountered in a British horror film. Jaw-dropping work by Leonardo Stoppa: bravo, sir. Fodor’s only other features are an Azerbaijani drama and a 2007 version of Hamlet.

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