TALK ABOUT A GUILT COMPLEX: MARTYRS LANE
Movies that evoke fear without blood and guts are rare these days. Light, shadow, music, silence combine for a few heart-stopping moments in Martyrs Lane (2021), written/directed by Ruth Platt.
Within a running time of ninety-six minutes, Platt manages to keep the viewer guessing as to why Leah (Kiera Thompson whose performance dominates) from the beginning is haunted by an unknown presence. The looming spirit appears at night. During the day, the vicarage, filled with parishioners, distract Leah. In comparison, when Leah awakens from a nightmare, it's the poltergeist who comforts the little girl--strangely Leah's mother does not. In time, Leah senses that her mother has been withholding secrets and the unearthly being may be the key.
Often-times, this reviewer steers clear of the horror genre, as the movies have become repeatedly formulaic. This one, because of Platt's confident direction, solid story, and, Mark Györi's subtle then startling camera movements, his feel for laying the anticipatory groundwork for the frightening revelations, rises above the typical ghost story.
All the characters contribute effective portrayals. Besides Kiera Thompson, Hattie Morahan as Sarah (Leah's mother) embodies the simmering reserve of a conflicted, shell-shocked woman for reasons to be discovered.
If you prefer psychological thrillers to the usual blood-fests horror offers at the moment, then try Martyrs Lane. You may find yourself jumping out of your seat.
Unrated as of this publication date. May be too scary for children under thirteen.
Debuting on Shudder Thursday, September 9. Australian/British production.
Earlier reviews not seen on this website (before May 20, 2021) are available on https://www.rottentomatoes.com/critic/wendy-shreve/movies or my previous blog site, featuringfilm.com
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