Wake Wood [Blu-Ray] David Keating

Wake Wood [Blu-Ray] David Keating
In premise, Irish folktale horror Wake Wood sounds a lot like Pet Sematary, insomuch as it features married couple Patrick (Aiden Gillen) and Louise (Eva Birthistle) moving to a new rural community and immediately losing their child to an accident, only to have her brought back from the dead by something ancient and mystical. Only here, instead of an old Indian burial ground, they take a fresh dead body, crush its thorax, sever its spinal cord with garden shears, smash its head with a hammer, smother it in faeces and light it on fire. How these rural Irish denizens discovered that this particular combination of bodily denigration resulted in resurrecting the dead is never addressed or even acknowledged. And while the basic gist of this frequently disturbing natural law parable is similarly to the Stephen King story, essentially stating, "Don't mess with nature," there is a preoccupation with unnatural births and animal mutilation that suggests modernity and mankind are abominations of nature. This goes twofold with the seeming trajectory of tradition as a threat to outsiders turned on its head, sort of like Cold Creek Manor if we weren't supposed to identify with the entitled city folks. Early images of a cow C-section, dog attack and death by bull trampling set the stage for man's abject relationship to wilderness and nature, ramping up further when the dead kid comes back to life and starts skinning pets and livestock. It's sort of an odd underlying tone, suggesting that modernity –primarily modern day medical techniques and medicine – is a grotesque abomination worthy of punishment, much like any deviation from strict rules. This weird subtext opens the film to further thought, which makes up for minor problems, such as illogical character developments from the two leads, who never seem particularly shocked by the return of their daughter, nor do they respond in a practical manner when she returns. Furthermore, once the shit hits the fan, Keating never knows how to build tension or set a scene properly to generate the intended thrills, instead relying on gore. Still, it isn't often that low budget horror has this much thought behind it or intrigue in a premise that isn't always predictable, which is more than can be said for most titles lining video store shelves. Included with the Blu-Ray are a couple of deleted scenes that add nothing to the story. (eOne)