Wake Wood (18)

Starring: Eva Birthistle, Aidan Gillen, Timothy Spall
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The Independent Culture

From the revamped Hammer studio comes an Irish paranormal thriller owing a pronounced debt to two British horror classics, both from 1973.

See if you can spot them. A married couple, Patrick (Aidan Gillen) and Louise (Eva Birthistle), numbed by the loss of their young daughter, move to the village of Wake Wood in rural Ireland. There they happen upon a weird Pagan ritual practised by the locals: a loved one, if dead for less than a year, can be brought back from the grave for three days only. In desperate longing for their lost child, the couple apply to the local community leader (Timothy Spall), who sets in train the requisite preparations – cue grave-robbing, incantations and witchcraft. Would you believe that the promised resurrection goes horribly awry? Director David Keating and co-writer Brendan McCarthy are evidently grounded in the British supernatural, and while it would be unkind to call this "Don't Look Now at The Wicker Man", you can spot their multiple influences a mile off (there's even a Julie Christie-Donald Sutherland-ish sex scene between the couple). The enveloping creepiness of the village setting scores points, which the film proceeds to squander in careless plotting, imprecise effects and a denouement of arrant silliness – including a steal from a horror standard even more famous than the other two.