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Evil Calls: The Raven (V) More at IMDbPro »The Legend of Harrow Woods (original title)

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24 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

What on EARTH is this?

1/10
Author: dipsy-lee54 from United States
19 January 2012

This is a film that should spark change. Real change in the world of film! It's one of those rare productions that cause a ripple and everyone get's together and says, YES we need change! - and that change is that we need to be able to give a film 0/10!!

You're probably wondering why I let my eyeballs suffer such awful torment for the duration but I am slightly masochistic and I wouldn't want to review a title unless it had been seen in it's (almost) entirety.

I'm not sure where to begin, but I would like to keep my review brief because I've already wasted enough time on this film. Firstly I watched the 3D version.. 3D??? it was barely 1D and the ridiculous glasses just made things look red, which gave me a headache. I must have fallen unconscious for the next hour because I don't remember anything.

The premise of the film is that a club of friends get together to try and work out strange goings on, (they're going for a cross between Scoobie Do and Most Haunted). One of the girls has a birthday and so they all argue a bit and decide to go to a spooky wood called Harrow. According to the computer hacker character, wikipedia states that a witch perished there and made the place haunted.

Then when we get there we find out that it's got a wooden hut and inside is very similar to the haunted hotel in the Shining, complete with blood tidal wave (made with lots of buckets of ketchup). The story doesn't really go anywhere at this point and instead the director starts acting and talking to Ric Mayal in tongues, which is kind of hard to understand because it's quite muffly.

Then it cuts back to the friends who are dead/dying because of the witch's curse. That's it. The End. 0/10

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

If only they made it, what it could have been.......

2/10
Author: ben-bradfield
21 March 2012

Before I begin I would just like to say that I am a massive fan of cult horrors, which I believed this had the potential to be.

I found this title and thought... "I bet it will be cool"....."eclectic cast and a decent enough synopsis"...."should be interesting" ..urmm.... Well..... I learned the hard way.

English people talking with an unconvincing American accent? A storyline which just about made sense, but only if you try real hard? And the acting? well it is the only situation in my life, that I am glad Jason Donovan was involved. Rik Mayall as ever did a Sterling job, but the rest of the cast were mediocre, at the very best!

I don't want to spoil the plot, but if I am honest, I struggled to find one. There is one there, but you need to really be on your toes to find it, you are certainly not gonna be smacked in the face with it!

The effects and camera work I did like, but that is what I was expecting, use of interesting camera shots and effects, not necessarily ground breaking stuff, but more than worthy of this style of film. It is just a shame that they were linked together so badly with such an appalling plot.

If you like films which don't make much sense, has dodgy acting with unconvincing accents, and the potential to be a great cult horror but just falls short of the mark, then this is for you ...

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Interesting film

6/10
Author: wideopenvision from United Kingdom
2 April 2008

Very Random cast for a horror film, but that's kind of what made me want to see it in the first place.

Not a typical slasher film, far from it. It's more a slow burning psychological film really.

Rik Mayall is on top form! And Jason Donovon puts in a good performance as a sleazy internet hermit. Richard Waters is very good too.

Got the typical qualities of a horror movie, in nudity and gore! The plot is quite complex, but it does get you thinking which is never a bad thing.

Good film, worth a watch...

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Delirious!

4/10
Author: Nigel P
30 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here's fun: a horror film starring Rik Mayall, Robin Askwith, Christopher Walken, Norman Wisdom and Jason Donovan. It appears to have three titles. Apart from the above, this has also been known as Evil Calls and Alone in the Dark (not least on the DVD extras).

Investigating this online, the film seems to have a real-life history just as bizarre as anything contained in the fiction.

My guess is that Harrow Woods is actually two films spliced together to create a rather delirious whole. The bulk of it is set in Harrow Woods, New England (inexplicably meaning that the predominantly British cast – as well as Donovan – have to struggle with wavering American accents), while there are the scenes set mainly in a hotel washroom that feature Mayall, Askwith, Wisdom and Richard Driscoll. Driscoll wrote, directed and produced this, as well as starred in it, just as he did in his other two released films.

With a few more plot explanations, this would have been a much more enjoyable exercise. However, it seems Driscoll isn't overly concerned with clarifying every single plot point – something I have no problem with usually. But there is too much left unsaid. Walken's contribution is a narrated reading of Poe's The Raven over many early scenes – but (apart from brief flashes of raven eyes in segue-ways between various scenes) there seems to be no relevance between this and anything we actually see.

Mayall and Wisdom appear to be playing versions of the same character; they have identical dialogue which they share with Driscoll's character, George Carney. And it is the disappearance of Carney that propels the story. He appears to have stayed in a hotel that was built on a site of land where a witch was burned to death many years ago, and her 'spell' fuels his paranoia (that leads to a Jack Torrance-like madness) that his wife is having an affair with the character played by Robin Askwith. This is not plainly detailed, we have to work to come to this conclusion, amidst impressive scenes of sepia-toned parties, gallons of blood, a demon baby and plenty of topless women. Oh, and an old man watching events on a computer screen who doesn't have anything to do with anything. And this is the problem – there's too much going on here, as if there were too many ideas being injected into the production. If some of these ideas had been left for another film, and more time allowed to clarify what is actually going on here, then this would have been compelling. Some skillful production values are on show here, it's a shame they couldn't have been streamlined to create a more coherent whole. And not insisting on American accents that drag down many of the cast's performances would help too.

The Legend of Harrow Woods took a long time to complete. Almost ten years in fact. And clearly it has been a labour of love for Driscoll, who returned to the project regularly when finances allowed, to insert extra footage and moments that both clarify and further obfuscate the narrative. The ending suggests that none of the events in the film have actually happened yet, which doesn't help make sense of anything.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The quite a good in there but I think it got abducted by the Blair Witch

5/10
Author: peteranderson975 from East Kilbride, Scotland
2 August 2011

The Legend of Harrow Woods (also called Evil Calls)

This is an artsy film with very little plot. It is also non-linear and I don't think making sense was important to the writer-director. So now you have more warning than I got when I picked up the DVD. The box lists some the actors who appear in it such as Rik Mayall, Norman Wisdom, Jason Donovan and Robin Askwith. It is true they are in the film but none of them are main characters except for perhaps Jason Donovan.

There are two stories being told throughout the film. One is the story of the Internetters - a bunch irritating spoilt brats who have this thing where they go to haunted places and investigate them on the birthday of one the club's members Gary (Jason Donovan) and Karl Richard Waters) run a website for the club. Gary has found out about a story of a family who have disappeared in Harrow Woods in New England ( yeah sure New England). The area has a legend that the area was cursed by a witch when they executed her there. So the Internetters are going to Harrows Woods with a bunch hand-held cameras to investigate, like a posh brat version of the Scooby Gang. The whole thing is getting streamed live on their website.

One of the group, Anna is psychic and she keep getting flashes of the family that disappeared. Through Anna's visions we learn more of that second story (and enjoy it more, leaving it each time with regret). George Carney, his wife Vivienne and their two kids go the woods with George's brother Vincent (Robin Askwith.).George thinks Vivienne and Vincent are having an affair and this fear is manifested in a series of identical interactions with three different toilet attendants. The first is Norman Wisdom looking very old and frail. The next one is Rik Mayall in full Alan B'stard mode and the third is a woman in a mask naked under her suit jacket in a toilet full of naked women wearing blindfolds.

This film really tried very hard to be weird with horrible images flashing by. The visions of the Carney family seems to be from a different film with a decent cast and a strong David Lynch vibe and its all shot on real film which has been processed to look old and decayed.

But this reasonably interesting film has been cut up and grafted into a badly acted shaky-cam Blair Witch copy. There only seems be two actors among the Internetters, Karl and Gary. The rest of them are very poor. They are also all very similar looking and a lot action is in the dark so its difficult to see what's going on. It did not help things when Eileen Daly appeared as another psychic called Victoria which giving the film a cheesy ham attack.

The 3D was one thing that seemed to work out. It was dark and often hallucinatory and in those scenes it worked out nicely.

I cannot recommend this film to anyone I know since I think they will all hate it . I didn't hate it but I don't imagine seeking it out to watch again. It has some female nudity and a small amount of gore (not counting the gallons of red liquid splashing about all over the place

Rating 5/10

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