d./w. Neil Morris, Gary Smart; p. Neil Morris, Gary Smart, Christopher Griffiths, Stuart Conran; cast: Doris MF Bohnam, Bruce Jones, Stanley Rawlings, Simon Bamford, Ray Skeemer
In 2017 Gary Smart, creator of books and documentaries on various 1980s horror classics, began making narrative films under the banner ‘Dark Ditties’. The Offer, a 48-minute sub-feature reuniting several Hellraiser cast including Bamford and Jones, was followed by this extraordinarily powerful social/supernatural horror. It’s essentially an extended monologue by an old lady, clearly suffering from dementia so that we’re never certain how much of what she experiences is real. Over the course of 65 expertly-judged minutes, we learn about her husband and what he did to her, and to their two children. Her son pleads with her to leave the house full of bad memories while her husband’s angry ghost bullies her into staying. Northern lower middle class pride melds with twisted supernatural fear in a superb production that feels like John Carpenter directing an Alan Bennett script. Terrific prosthetics by make-up legend Conran are the finishing touch on what is actually an important film about domestic abuse. Sit through the credits for a surprise. Finders Keepers will be next.