The plot will leave those looking for answers feeling frustrated but the creepy atmosphere is all, and it is well done
A young boy, terminally ill with only a few years to live, is forced to spend his remaining years with a strict aunt in Scotland. He has frequent memories of happier times with his parents before they died and left him alone. His new home is cold, strict, religious and distant, but something else is in the home, something that he has learnt from his past, something that he can control.
Opening with a creepy minute of uncertainty this film then tells us enough about the boy's past to be able to get a grip on what we think is happening.
The flashes of outlines of drawn beast give us the suggestion of what is in the shed and, although we never see it, this is more than enough to create a creepy air to the film. The atmosphere created by the story is wonderfully supported by the delivery, which is great in the area of direction, costume, sets and animation. The whole house has a cold air, the costumes are repressed and constraining and the sets are barren with no luxuries of any sort. The animation gives away that this is a low budget affair but it still works. Of course in terms of plotting I have little clue what was in the shed specifically or any other details but, for me, this was more about atmosphere than anything else.
The director works well to keep things mysterious but also tense, and we are never sure what the problem is but we feel uncomfortable anyway. The cast also help; the boy is scared but also in control and scheming, the aunt is part of the whole cold and repressed atmosphere and she delivers well. The boy's mother is only in it briefly but her bright, flowing performance (as well as the colour used in her scenes) really help contrast to the present day.
Overall this is a slight film that is light on plot and will not give full answers to anything but it does have a great atmosphere. It looks creepy and foreboding with a real sense of dread built into it (of who or what we're never sure) and for that alone this is worth seeking out.
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