Manchester, the present. Michael divides his time between the job center and the pub. A chance meeting with Lee, an introduction to her Uncle Ian and a heavy night on the lash lead to a job working the door at a Northern Quarter massage parlor. After witnessing the violent death of one of the punters, Michael experiences blood-drenched flashbacks and feels himself being sucked into a twilight world that he doesn't understand but that is irresistibly attractive. When he eventually finds out what goes on in the room below Cloud 9, Michaels' life will never be the same again.
The club scenes were film at the d Havilland club in Bolton. See more »
Michael invites Lee to stay in their flat, but it is Dig who ends up sleeping on the floor. As if. See more »
Written by Lucy Hope
Performed by The House Of Glass
Courtesy of Thog Records See more »
A low-budget British horror that does what it says on the tin, but also manages to do it very well. The script is appalling and the cast struggle with cliched dialogue, but there are some fair to good actors here. Jessica Barden can do no wrong, while William Ash and Louis Emmerick are quite capable and even Roxanne Pallett manages an adequate performance. I did not know Elliot James Langridge before this but he can certainly emote. His character has a limited range of reactions, mostly miserable or lost, but when he is good he is very good. The weakest link is the sister, not due to poor acting but simply not a credible role. As we find out, her claustrophobic protection of her brother is accompanied by a personality that cannot look after herself.
The plot is slight - young man joins group of cannibals in Manchester after catching the eye of a young woman - but it bowls along merrily and has the feel of a more substantial piece. Ordinarily, to say a film seems longer than its run time would be an insult, but in this case it is a tribute to the pacing. Most of the action looks to take place in real locations rather than film sets, although the cheapness shows a few times - an industrial stone floor looks more like vinyl, for example - but the grime, squalor, poverty, deprivation and occasional bright lights of Manchester add atmosphere and authenticity.
There is no attempt to burden us with backstory, other than one incident in the childhood of the main character, which some might find unfulfilling but I didn't mind. We are seeing a snapshot, a few days in the lives of our hosts, not the grand sweep of history. How many of us question the background of everyone we meet?
Effects are a mixed bag. Some deliciously graphic butchery is mixed with pointless injury detail. If someone has the skill and the restraint to fillet and carve an entire leg, why would they inflict random diagonal cuts to the torso? These do not look like stab wounds so much as naff 1960s injuries that would have been at home in Peter Cushing portmanteau stories about crypt keepers or asylum managers.
Nudity too is inconsistent. Despite much of the story taking place in a seedy massage parlour (don't look for cameos by international sports stars with calf sprains), the presentation is actually surprisingly coy until a topless cabaret artist introduces a scene featuring a group of people writhing naked and drenched in blood. It is as if the film were composed of elements made by entirely different studios, then stitched together without editing: one crew to make the horror sequences, one to do the erotic one, one to capture seedier areas of Manchester (which is almost a character in itself).
The film would never challenge at the Oscars but it is a solid effort and deserves to be seen. Do not be put off by the lack of big names, although Barden is growing in stature (figuratively) with every film. She is far from statuesque but her deadpan face can portray big feelings with barely a twitch as she fills the screen with bland nihilism. Worth a watch.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this