Directed by Adam Levins
Starring Craig Conway, James Cosmo, Bob Duff, James Lance, Amy Manson, Faye McLoughlin, Eileen Nicholas, Simon Quarterman, Joy Sanders.
Due to a near-fatal accident that has left her incapacitated and depleted of her long-term memory, a temporarily wheelchair-bound woman returns home after being abroad for six years accompanied by her bohemian boyfriend, the apparent cause of the accident. Unable to remember her family or her own childhood, she sets out, with the help of her boyfriend, to find the reason for her leaving all those years ago and quickly discovers her relatives may not be as loving as she’d thought.
Estranged hides nothing from the off. As soon as January (Amy Manson) returns to her maternal home with her boyfriend Callum (Simon Quarterman), you’re instantly placed on edge as you’re greeted with an overly eccentric English family. January, who has recently suffered amnesia due to an accident abroad with her boyfriend, cannot recall her reasons for leaving her family, though the family’s initial quirks and over-reactions to herself and Callum are a good indication of what the push may have been.
After the sudden disappearance from Callum, the father (James Cosmo) of the house informs January that he told the boyfriend his thoughts of both of him and the relationship with his daughter. Months pass with all apparently seeming well, as the family come together to aid with January’s rehabilitation and integration back into the extremely close-knit family – until January locates some family photographs, she realises something is altogether not right. It’s here the silent butler (Craig Conway) posts a newspaper clipping under the door, which tells her about the suicide of her mother. With this news January attempts to escape.
Captured, drugged and raped by the father of the house – with the others watching – January is forced to live out the next coming months pregnant and in the house ale cellar; undergoing ridicule, isolation and abuse from the other members of the household. Until finally the butler brings to light what occurred in this home.
Estranged is a fine example of British horror. We have the isolated home, the trapped victim, the malevolent captors and we the audience get to watch January’s nightmare unfurl in front of us. Not at a break neck speed with snapping edits, to force scares upon us, but gradually and calmly like the perfect storm. Take the middle of the film were January is being rehabilitated by her mother in the hallway, what seems like a moment of tranquillity and love between them both, this is also shadowed by the butlers gaze, as he is more than aware of the nightmare sitting on January’s back. Adam Levins has taken both the minimal cast and home, which from the outside appear perfectly normal but within are both crumbling and are full of rot. If you get the opportunity to see this film you should take it.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★/ Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.