Thursday, 12 January 2012

Deathwatch, dir/wr. Michael J. Bassett, st. Jamie Bell, Laurence Fox, Kris Marshall, Andy Serkis, Hugo Speer

What a cast! Billy Elliot, DS Hathaway from Lewis, Adam from the BT 'family' adverts, Gollum and the bloke with the megacock from The Full Monty stuck in a captured German trench during WWI and plagued by hellish hallucinations à la Event Horizon or The Shining. Writer/director Bassett nails the unsettling, claustrophobic environment with an absolutely first-class set, all mud, rain and barbed-wire adorned, but where's the plot? While we're at it, where're the characters? Most of them spend the majority of the time running around in the dark through the fog in a state of disorientation and one suspects it's the same story off-camera too. Whilst The Shining is the definitive haunted house film and Event Horizon neatly shifts the action into space, Deathwatch barely flirts with the idea of war as a literal hell, and instead turns it into some strange Shyamalanesque ghost story, complete with hokey 'And The Pattern Is Set To Repeat!' ending. Nor is it weird enough to trouble the likes of Yellowbrickroad - a truly wacky paranormal romp that's genuinely unique and thoroughly unsettling if ultimately unsuccessful as a movie. I kept wanting a heroic horse to leap into the trenches and give me something to cheer on, alas no, not an equine in sight.