MOVIE REVIEW: Without Name

Psychological Eco Horror set in Ireland.  A land surveyor is sent on a job to a forest in Ireland, where he has to measure all the readings that a construction company needs to start building.  There are ecological reasons to keep this job quiet from the locals.  At home his wife and son are growing ever more distant from him, mainly because he’s having an affair with a student, who is going to join him in this remote forest.  The company has rented a house in the middle of the forest, where the previous resident has gone insane from his life there, and it’s here where everything starts to fall apart.

I love low budget horrors, you all know that, remember?  We talked about it last weekend over drinks.  Anyway you’ll find a full range of cheesy acting, quick shocks, frightful fun, and although the acting leaves a lot to be desired there are some great times to be had.  That’s when it all goes right, I’ll give that movie a good 4 or 5 out of 5.  When it all goes wrong, when the style overwhelms the substance, when the basics of a horror are ignored and it’s more about a team proving their worth rather than getting the story done.  When this happens I get so annoyed my Gamma Ray exposure goes into overload and GAR SMASH!

Here nearly everything that could be wrong with a horror is wrong with this film.  But what I liked was the character of Eric, played by Alan McKenna, probably the best performance of the film.  Eric is a complicated man, his fear of loneliness being in direct conflict with his marriage and child.  His story could have been the set up for something spectacular.  Sadly it’s wasted.

The film wants to show the forest defending itself from the future construction, but instead of highlighting the magic and supernatural element of the woods we have long lingering shots, pointless shots, of different trees at different times of the day.  When the student comes to spend time with Eric, there should have been a greater conflict, there should have been more story to that plot point that is squandered.  

Without Name is a film that lost my attention after the first 10 minutes were up, it’s my job to stay with the film for the entire length of the story but I found that hard.  This is not the worst horror that I’ve seen in the last twelve months, but I’ve seen far better.  This is the Directors first feature and sadly it shows too often.  There is little to no confidence in the understanding of the genre and not enough content for the film to be genre breaking.  Could it have been saved?  Yes.

But when we get to the finale of the film, sadly, there are not enough breadcrumbs to find your way home to care.  The one saving grace is that the performances of the majority of the cast are well enough that you are not wincing, apart from the head of the Construction Company that we see over Skype, he’s so 1980’s Irish performance it’s horrid to watch.  Without Name is without hope to get a return to the cinema or a purchase on DVD or blu ray from me.

Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Writer: Garret Shanley
Stars: Alan McKenna, Niamh Algar, James Browne

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