Saturday, 22 August 2020

The Spawning

d./w. Simon M Riley; p. Janet Riley, Colin Grist; cast: Zoe Karpeta, Reid Anderson, Faye Sewell, Liam Millard, Christopher Ward, Luke Richards

Intense, dark, Freudian sci-fi/horror feature with an unavoidable Xtro feel. When three-months-pregnant Amy is rescued from an attempted rape, she unwisely invites her saviour home – but we know from an effective prologue that he’s actually a humanoid alien. Amy is drugged and raped by this being, but police, doctors and cheating boyfriend only believe she was assaulted once. By the end of the film four people are dead and Amy has given birth to a slug which is eaten by a spider-monster under her bed. Excellent acting by the whole cast combines with well-crafted, naturalistic dialogue plus tight, shallow camerawork and very gooey effects to create a powerful, disturbing, serious drama with few answers. Frustratingly, like too many titles in my books, The Spawning is a lost film. Shot in 2016 around Cheshire and Merseyside, it premiered in New York in 2017 and was released VOD in March 2018. But by 2020 Riley had moved abroad and his only feature had disappeared from Vimeo, becoming no more available to watch than London After Midnight

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