London Film Festival 2013: World Premiere of Blackwood

Image:Meivocis - Charlotte Prichard.
Image: Meivocis – Charlotte Prichard.

Adam Wimpenny has previously directed ‘Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway’, ‘The Real Hustle’ and ‘Derren Brown Presents the 3D Magic Spectacular’. Now I’m a big fan of Ant & Dec – but it’s fair to say that his new film Blackwood more than tops his previous directorial efforts. The supernatural thriller is Wimpenny’s feature film debut and more than announces his arrival on the movie scene. Set in an English country house, Blackwood takes the classic British ghost thriller and gives it a clever and original twist that will grip audiences right until the end.

Recovering from an emotional breakdown, University professor Ben moves with his wife and son to the English countryside for a new start. Everything seems to be going well until he starts to notice some strange goings-on in their new house. Questions are asked about the house’s previous owner, and Ben soon disgruntles the locals as he confronts a local for talking to his son. Like all good ghost-story heroes, Ben becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of Blackwood House and soon uncovers a local secret that seems to be threatening his family.

Ed Stoppard (The Pianist) as Ben leads a talented cast that includes Russell Tovey (Him & Her, History Boys) as a menacing ex-soldier and Hannah Myles (Underworld, Transformers 4) as Ben’s long-suffering wife. Wimpenny has a knack of keeping even the most simple dialogue scenes fraught with tension, and if you’re anything like me (a bona fide scaredy cat) you will be feeling a chill down your neck and jumping several times during this movie. It’s not one of these new-fangled bloody horrors with spleens and god knows what else flying at the screen. It’s a slow-burning psychological thriller that will keep you guessing right up until the end.

Wildcard Films, the production company behind Blackwood promise to be one of the most exciting talents in British cinema. Comprised of producer Adam Morane-Griffiths, screenwriter J.S. Hill and director Wimpenny, the company worked together on multi-award winning Roar prior to shooting Blackwood. Wimpenny was named one of the ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ by Screen, and with directorial-debuts like this it’s not hard to see why. I would urge any fans of innovative cinema or scare-fans to try and catch Blackwood – we don’t get original ghost stories too often and one this gripping is too good to pass up.

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