4 user 1 critic

The Guides (2002)

The Cicerones (original title)
| Horror, Short
A naïve tourist visits a cathedral to view it's paintings, only to find that it is a portal to a grotesque and disturbing realm of distorted time and reality.



(short story),


Complete credited cast:
John Trant
Jane Bertish ...
Woman on Train
Lily Power ...
Girl on Train
Oliver Lavery-Farag ...
Boy on Train
Guide 1 'Foreign'
Derek Hagen ...
Guide 2 'American'
Rowland Stirling ...
Guide 3 'Choirboy'
Guide 4 'Child'
Figure in Pulpit


A naïve tourist visits a cathedral to view it's paintings, only to find that it is a portal to a grotesque and disturbing realm of distorted time and reality.

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Horror | Short





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Nicely creepy with good atmosphere, direction, acting and support (from several English cathedrals)
26 January 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A repressed Englishman is making a journey by train in Eastern Europe to visit a cathedral in order to view an extremely rare painting that is held there. An encounter with an old woman on a train is only the first of several strange characters that he meets on his trip as the cathedral itself seems full of people ranging from the colourful, the creepy and the ominous.

Another reviewer has claimed that only fans of "The League of Gentlemen" will ever watch this film and, as someone who has never watched an episode, let me just say nonsense. As with many, many other fans of inventive and original cinema I will often find great little films to watch and give them a try – I don't need to be motivated by a wave of student cult following to do so and it is a shame that some viewers require a big hit to even bother with something smaller. Anyway, so it was I came to this film with no knowledge of it. From the very start of the film it is evident that it will rely on creepy tone rather than gore or screaming shocks as it sets out a weird frame to operate within.

From here it builds on unsettling images, colourful interruptions and a general air of foreboding that is very effective. The ending is not as satisfying as it could have been because it was far too open and lacking a real killer punch but everything up till then had been really good. The meaning is not as important as the delivery thanks to the running time and it uses this clause to its advantage. The cast are pretty good – in particular Gatiss, who is visibly on edge and helps the audience buy into his experience a lot more. The director uses the locations very well and the various cathedrals (including local Lichfield) are very much a major part of the film working as well as it does.

Overall a simple but effective film that relies more on mood and atmosphere than it does plot and narrative. The scares here are like a toned down version of those used in Japanese horrors over the past five years or so and they work well enough here even if the end could have been much stronger. Worth seeing – even if you're not a "curious League of Gentlemen fan".

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