Haunting in Cawdor (2015)

Posted: March 1, 2016 in FILM REVIEWS/COMMENTS
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Review written for http://www.bcrising.com

Run by a failed Broadway director a Midwest work release program which rehabilitates young offenders as an alternative to jail puts a group of  teens through the mill when a pesky curse is played out.

To cut a long story short director/writer Phil Wurtzel’s Haunting in Cawdor is a rework of Shakespeare’s Macbeth with a ‘Venus in Fur’ touch about it. Now some horror fans reading this maybe be thing ‘eh, what?’ That’s because Friel Films’ Haunting in Cawdor is not a horror film per say, it’s more of a thriller with the associated Scottish curse, speaking the name Macbeth inside a theatre which will cause disaster.

The budget is clearly small, the camera work is crisp and the goings on are centred on one interesting and fitting location. Any work based on Shakespearian play is, as you might expect dialogue driven leaving the special effects waiting in the wing. Wurtzel clearly loves the source material. Pouting, innocent eyed beauty Shelby Young plays the deeply disturbed Vivian faultlessly. The acting is theatrical and fits its offbeat tone which suits Cary Elwes’ (secretive Lawrence O’Neil) acting prowess perfectly.

Haunting in Cawdor panders to the Twilight generation of teen angst but also covers suffering and graver abuse issues. Incidentally, Twilight star Michael Welch appears as rouge Roddy. As the curse increasingly starts to look like a reality there’s some jump scares, smidgens of blood and dream-like visions but generally it’s jammed with teen summer camp-tropes and Elwes pensively looking over his glasses.

It’s a wordy, low budget character piece with at best creepy theatre shenanigans, dressing rooms and running through the rain. Don’t expect 100 minutes shock and terror and you may ‘break a leg’ finding some teen cinema charm in Cawdor.

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