By Daniel King
In rural Ireland, Annie (Seána Kerslake) and her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey) are intrigued by the vast sinkhole they find in the woods behind their house. One day Chris disappears and his distraught mother searches for him in vain.
The following day Chris shows up, seemingly none the worse for wear, but her mother’s intuition tells her that her son has changed.
Not a story to get the pulses racing is it, having been told in various ways many times over the years. Let’s face it, it’s about a mother and child in peril in a spooky house in the middle of nowhere. Unoriginal it may be then but director Lee Cronin turns something familiar into a genuinely frightening piece of cinema.
He has drawn an excellent performance from his leading lady. Seána Kerslake is rarely off screen but carries the film impressively. The photography of the rural Irish locations is terrific, managing to make them achingly beautiful and sinister at the same time. Unlike a lot of modern films, this one gets its business done in a flash, at just under 90 minutes which means it never drags or lets up the tension.
The only niggles are its aforementioned lack of originality and the final twenty minutes, which come perilously close to wrecking all the good work that’s come before.
Neither should put you off seeing the film though – it really is an excellent effort and even though we’re only in April, I’d put it forward as a candidate for the best horror of 2019.