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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Thora Birch, Daniel Brocklebank, Embeth Davidtz
Director: Nick Hamm

The follow-up to MARTHA, MEET FRANK, DANIEL and LAURENCE, Nick Hamm changes direction from rom-com to horror/thriller and tackles an adaptation of Guy Burt’s novel “After The Hole”. Four young students from an exclusive English private school go missing. Two weeks later Liz (Thora Birch) emerges from the woods, bruised, bloody and clearly traumatized. Staggering through the empty school, she manages to contact the emergency services before passing out. Everyone involved wants to know what has happened. Enter Dr. Philippa Horwood (Embeth Davidtz), a psychologist, who has given herself the task to allow Liz to tell her story, without any pressure being put on her. Liz recalls back to the time when it was announced that Mike (Desmond Harrington), the son of an American rock star, was single again.

Requiring some help to get Mike to finally notice her, Liz approaches computer whiz kid and good friend Martin (Daniel Brocklebank) about her dilemma. Martin reveals that he has arranged for Mike, Geoff (Laurence Fox), Mike’s best friend and Frankie (Keira Knightley), queen of the scene, to escape the boring end of term field trip to Wales. Instead the three of them will spend the three days hiding out in a secret underground bunker and now Liz is added to the list.

After Martin takes them to the bunker, he will return in three days time to let them out. Only problem is that he doesn’t return and there is no other way out. Has Martin being involved in an accident? Theories start flying around until they find a listening device a few days later. Going on the theory that Martin is actually in love with Liz and the closer she gets to Mike, the less likely it’ll be that they will ever get out, they act out a scene where Liz and Mike hurl insults at each other. The next morning the bunker door is opened and the four of them escape. But something still isn’t right. When the police finally catch up with Martin, he tells them he is not the one they should worry about!

Unfortunately called a British BLAIR WITCH PROJECT by some, this has more in common with SHALLOW GRAVE in terms of how people change when they are in an unusual situation. Okay, the likelihood that this sort of thing will ever happen is very remote but that is not the point. As a piece of entertainment, it attempts to knock back the damage SCREAM and other movies of its type have made to the horror genre. With this particular movie, there are more twists and turns here that will actually have you wrongly second-guessing the rest of the movie. Thora Birch is convincing with her British public schoolgirl accent and the rest of the cast are also convincing. Better direction would have made parts of this movie scarier but as it is, it will do.

4 out of 6 stars