Film Notes, Reviews

FrightFest review – The Waterhouse

FrightFest review – The Waterhouse

Written and directed by Samuel Clemens, this is an impressionist, elliptical take on the crooks-run-into-a-curse sub-genre – with impressive sound design, strangely cadenced performances and a kind of poetic free-flowing angst in lieu of conventional terrors.  It perhaps overuses drones zooming over stark seascapes and the central location – an isolated house on a shingle beach – but manages to work up a great deal of atmosphere, especially because it doesn’t overdo the explanations.  Pay attention to the name of a significant boat and the subject matter of a stolen painting, and note how one stratagem for dealing with the weirdness has a very specific Homeric antecedent – but there are UFO-type ‘missing time’ interludes as well as sirens of the deep to beleaguer hapless menfolk.

Crooks Eric (Alan Calton), Matt (Dominic Vulliamy) and Paul (Michelangelo Fortuzzi) have just heisted a valuable painting – with the assistance of Matt’s mother Denice (Corrine Wicks) – and rendezvous at the central location, though things are off from the first … Denice isn’t there, but a bracelet is found in a bloody pool, which Eric – who might be invoved with son and mother – keeps from Matt … things thrown into the water, like a bucket and a bag full of evidence, tend to turn up in the house, with the bucket being filled with blood … all three hear a strange sound and are remote-piloted to stagger onto the beach and at each other … and then supposed shipwreck survivors Pixie (Lily Catalifo), Opal (Lara Lemon) and Noé (Sandrine Salyères) shop up in need of help, forcing the gang to pretend to be a three-man stag party and settling in for a flirty evening of ‘two truths and a lie’ though everyone is pretty much lying about everything.

From then on, the song of the sea is repeated and there are more and more time-outs from rationality.  It’s brief enough for its deliberate fuzziness about what’s actually happening not to be a problem and has a weird dream vibe – photography and sound design are impressive – which is memorable.



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