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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Hammer Time! A Creepy, But Familiar, New Film From Hammer That Benefits By Incredibly Strong Performances
Reviving the legend of Hammer films certainly seemed like a great idea. Renowned for their creepiness and monster mayhem, Hammer was one of the most influential horror players in the film industry for approximately four decades (most relevantly, perhaps, in the fifties and sixties). Their 1958 version of "Dracula" with Christopher Lee is still considered by many to be the...
Published on June 18, 2011 by K. Harris

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vet Sematary.
Wake Wood (David Keating, 2011)

David Keating has made just two feature films in his career to date, the 1996 dramedy Last of the High Kings and the 2010 supernatural thriller Wake Wood. You're already spanning a whole lot of genre there (and that's not counting the two documentaries he made between). He seems to handle everything with equal aplomb; while Wake...
Published 9 months ago by Robert Beveridge


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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Hammer Time! A Creepy, But Familiar, New Film From Hammer That Benefits By Incredibly Strong Performances, June 18, 2011
This review is from: Wake Wood [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Reviving the legend of Hammer films certainly seemed like a great idea. Renowned for their creepiness and monster mayhem, Hammer was one of the most influential horror players in the film industry for approximately four decades (most relevantly, perhaps, in the fifties and sixties). Their 1958 version of "Dracula" with Christopher Lee is still considered by many to be the definitive film version of this oft told tale. Well, Hammer is back in the game! Their first release was the contemplative vampire remake "Let Me In," a terrific film that owes far more to its Swedish predecessor than to the mystique and allure of Hammer. Their follow-up film "The Resident," however, is pure Hammer--unfortunately, it's late period schlock as opposed to something that's going to reinvigorate the legend. Finally, with the creepy "Wake Wood," we've got something that represents the Hammer name and legacy in a recognizable way.

I must, however, be slightly cautious in my recommendation of "Wake Wood" as to announce it as a pulse pounding horror thriller might be setting up false expectations. The film is most effective at establishing an unsettling vibe and mood--it's an atmospheric film that owes far more to realistic and believable performances than to outrageous scares or gore. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of blood--but what really provides the tension in the film are the strong and sometimes fearless performances of leads Aiden Gillen and Eva Birthistle. Birthistle, in particular, is astoundingly heartfelt--aggressive when necessary but always accessible and vulnerable. After the unexpected death of their daughter, the couple struggles to cope. Moving to a new, and noticeably odd, new community--they are growing ever more distant. But the town holds a secret and it might just make them a whole family once again. But be careful what you wish for! Tampering with life and death is not for the faint hearted and the repercussions of their decisions begin to have horrifying consequences.

In truth, there is nothing spectacularly new or original in the film. The creepy town that unites for ritualistic supernatural events has been covered countless times (including, but not limited to, two of my childhood favorites--The Wicker Man and The Dark Secret of Harvest Home). Also, the yearning for a lost child at any cost has been imagined in many ways. As the violence starts to spiral out of control--again, it all feels very familiar. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't work. I liked Timothy Spall as an offbeat town elder--much more slickly menacing than in his usual role choices. The effects are good. I'd certainly warn those who are put off toward violence to animals, it can be grim going in that respect. And I really enjoyed the tease of the ending. But ultimately, the real selling point of the film and what distinguishes it from the many other choices in the genre are those terrific lead performances. More creepy than horrifying, this is one well acted film! So I'm happy to welcome back Hammer films and see what else they have in store. KGHarris, 6/11.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Desperation..., April 1, 2011
This review is from: Wake Wood (DVD)
After a couple lose their only daughter in a horrible accident, desperation leads them to try occult means to bring her back. Unfortunately, things don't go according to plan, leading to horror, despair, and carnage. WAKE WOOD is a tremendously unsettling, atmospheric creeper w/ a gradually tightening sense of suffocating dread. It's also one of the best supernatural thrillers I've ever seen. If you enjoy stories like THE MONKEY'S PAW, PET SEMETARY, HELLBOUND (BOOK OF THE DEAD), or BOBBY from Dan Curtis' DEAD OF NIGHT (TV) anthology, then WW will make you smile w/ grim delight! Well worth owning...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another unknown movie with a very limited release that's better than a lot of junk that makes it into theaters nationwide., February 21, 2012
This review is from: Wake Wood (DVD)
For a description of the plot, etc., read other reviews. I just want to give my thoughts on this movie...

This 2011 movie was recommended to me, so I had to see it. It's a very interesting, bizarre, and different Hammer horror movie. This movie marked Hammer's return to making movies. Ironically, it really doesn't have the same feel and atmosphere of the Hammer horror movies that were so popular in the 1950's, '60s, and '70s. Like the old Hammer movies, it's low budget, but this movie is a lot more gruesome and bloody than the goriest and bloodiest Hammer movies from decades ago. It's more in tune with what contemporary audiences want and expect from horror movies in general. In contrast, the new version of "The Woman In Black" (2012), also a Hammer movie, is more in tune with the old Hammer movies. However, I did enjoy "Wake Wood" and its bizarre plot, unique camera angles, and very different and unique musical score by Michael Convertino. I think the music is one of this movie's greatest assets. That and the camera angles and overall cinematography and feel. This is one of those movies where the viewer needs to suspend all disbelief and just accept the plot for what it is, weirdness and all.

Overall, this movie is definitely worth a look. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing..., September 21, 2011
This review is from: Wake Wood (DVD)
It was great to see that Hammer Film Studio is back to its old self--releasing some great under-appreciated horror. Such is the case of "Wake Wood," a sorrowful tale of parents trying to cope with the loss of their only child and how that can drive one to the lunatic fringe. Louise (expertly underplayed by Eva Birthistle) and Patrick are the couple who move to the idyllic village of Wake Wood only to find that nothing is really as it seems. Out for an evening stroll because she cannot sleep, Louise accidentally comes across the townspeople performing some sort of ritual. She returns home, saying nothing to her husband. However, when they announce their plans to move from Wake Wood, they are offered the ultimate opportunity: to have their recently departed daughter, Alice, back with them for three days. There are, however, stipulations and rules that simply CANNOT be broken. And, unfortunately for everyone, when Alice comes back, she's CHANGED.

"Wake Wood" doesn't follow the tired and worn-out plot of nubile young women in perile at the hands of some goon. That in itself was extremely refreshing. What it does ask, though, is a question that's very hard to come to grips with: could any of us have the courage to bring one of our loved ones back for three days? I know I couldn't; the pain would just be too unbearable. Directed by David Keating, this was very entertaining. The movie is rated R. There is some gore, but nothing over the top.

To borrow from the movie "Pet Semetery," "sometimes DEAD is better." Recommended very highly!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Hammer Time! A Creepy, But Familiar, New Film From Hammer That Benefits By Incredibly Strong Performances, July 10, 2011
This review is from: Wake Wood (Amazon Instant Video)
Reviving the legend of Hammer films certainly seemed like a great idea. Renowned for their creepiness and monster mayhem, Hammer was one of the most influential horror players in the film industry for approximately four decades (most relevantly, perhaps, in the fifties and sixties). Their 1958 version of "Dracula" with Christopher Lee is still considered by many to be the definitive film version of this oft told tale. Well, Hammer is back in the game! Their first release was the contemplative vampire remake "Let Me In," a terrific film that owes far more to its Swedish predecessor than to the mystique and allure of Hammer. Their follow-up film "The Resident," however, is pure Hammer--unfortunately, it's late period schlock as opposed to something that's going to reinvigorate the legend. Finally, with the creepy "Wake Wood," we've got something that represents the Hammer name and legacy in a recognizable way.

I must, however, be slightly cautious in my recommendation of "Wake Wood" as to announce it as a pulse pounding horror thriller might be setting up false expectations. The film is most effective at establishing an unsettling vibe and mood--it's an atmospheric film that owes far more to realistic and believable performances than to outrageous scares or gore. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of blood--but what really provides the tension in the film are the strong and sometimes fearless performances of leads Aiden Gillen and Eva Birthistle. Birthistle, in particular, is astoundingly heartfelt--aggressive when necessary but always accessible and vulnerable. After the unexpected death of their daughter, the couple struggles to cope. Moving to a new, and noticeably odd, new community--they are growing ever more distant. But the town holds a secret and it might just make them a whole family once again. But be careful what you wish for! Tampering with life and death is not for the faint hearted and the repercussions of their decisions begin to have horrifying consequences.

In truth, there is nothing spectacularly new or original in the film. The creepy town that unites for ritualistic supernatural events has been covered countless times (including, but not limited to, two of my childhood favorites--The Wicker Man and The Dark Secret of Harvest Home). Also, the yearning for a lost child at any cost has been imagined in many ways. As the violence starts to spiral out of control--again, it all feels very familiar. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't work. I liked Timothy Spall as an offbeat town elder--much more slickly menacing than in his usual role choices. The effects are good. I'd certainly warn those who are put off toward violence to animals, it can be grim going in that respect. And I really enjoyed the tease of the ending. But ultimately, the real selling point of the film and what distinguishes it from the many other choices in the genre are those terrific lead performances. More creepy than horrifying, this is one well acted film! So I'm happy to welcome back Hammer films and see what else they have in store. KGHarris, 6/11.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DON'T LOOK NOW Meets THE WICKER MAN., April 13, 2011
By 
Chip Kaufmann (Asheville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wake Wood (DVD)
WAKE WOOD is a Hammer Films production/presentation with Hammer CEO Simon Oakes one of the driving forces behind getting the film made. It's officially listed as an Irish/Swedish co-production and features location shooting in Donegal with some studio work done in Sweden. Together they make up the fictional town of Wake Wood where it is possible to bring the dead back to life...but only for 3 days. There is a surprising amount of subtext under the traditional storyline that gives WAKE WOOD added depth. A young medical couple (he's a vet, she's a pharmacist) lose their 9 year old daughter in a vicious accident. They relocate to Wake Wood without knowing the town's secret. Once they find out, they go through a special ritual involving the whole village in order to get her back. Everything is fine at first but then things go horribly wrong.

What makes WAKE WOOD so intriguing is how it combines elements of DON'T LOOK NOW with those of the original WICKER MAN while remaining an original film in its own right. At 82 minutes (minus credits), it's lean and mean with no wasted footage and has a wonderfully creepy aura thanks to atmospheric cinematography and a haunting, unsettling music score. All the acting is top notch especially Timothy Spall as the village elder and Ella Connoly as the ressurected daughter. The quality control on all the new Hammer films has been top grade but up until recently they have had trouble finding audiences in America. LET ME IN tanked, THE RESIDENT went straight to DVD as did WAKE WOOD. However Hammer's last effort, a remake of THE WOMAN IN BLACK with Daniel Radcliffe, has acheived worldwide success with a total gross of over $100 million.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice second comeback for Hammer!, August 26, 2011
By 
John Lindsey "John" (Socorro, New Mexico USA.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Wake Wood [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Patrick (Aiden Gillen) and Louise (Eva Birthistle) had just lost their daughter Alice (Ella Connelly) a year ago as they head to the town of Wake Wood to start a new life. However they still grieve over their dead daughter as they find a secret cult that is known to bring the dead back to life and they resurrect Alice. However over the next 3 days she isn't quite her self as there's a price to pay.

A nice moody slow burning supernatural UK/Irish import from Hammer Productions as it was a second comeback for the company after their brilliant "Let Me In", this well acted and nicely shot folk horror film harkens to the likes to the original "Wicker Man" from 1973 to "Pet Sematary" and "Pumpkinhead" on the whole resurrection killer theme. It's gory but not too gory and has a moody atmosphere to it plus a bizarre ending, it's very enjoyable to say.

This Blu-Ray offers crisp sound and perfect picture image and the only extras are deleted scenes and trailer.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A suspenseful community horror with a good plot., November 13, 2011
This review is from: Wake Wood (DVD)
Wake Wood fit into the community sub genre of horror, a genre which is usually about some remote town that have bizarre rituals going on that everyone in the community is aware of except the newly arrived main characters, notable movies in this sub genre of horror would include The Wicker Man and Wolfhound (the horror movie not the fantasy one.) Wake Wood do not do much to deviate from the standard formula in this type of film, a young couple have moved to the rural town of wake wood to try to get over the dead of their young daughter Alice, soon the young couple discovers that Wake Wood harbors a secret, the townsfolk know a ritual that will resurrect a dead loved one to give them three more days with their family before they are sent back into the ground. Off course our heroes have this ritual performed to bring Alice back, but the question is can they give their daughter back to the grave once their three days are up?

Wake Wood is a suspenseful film that both manages to stay true to the formula of it's genre and at the same time be original. The story of a family that get their dead daughter back but only for a short amount of time is heartbreaking and powerful, at the same time the viewer know that something is wrong and that something horrible is just around the corner. Wake Wood is a low budget film but they have really spent what money they wisely and Wake Wood is a beautiful film with a strong subject matter.

One thing I personally do not like about Wake Wood is all the violence to animals. I know many might laugh at this, but personally if a person is brutally killed in a horror movie then that is to be expected and I am fine with that, but grotesque violence to animals that make me uneasy. I am not docking the movie any stars for this since this is just a personal preference but I really could do without all the animals getting killed and mutilated, yes I know it is just movie effects but it still is not something I like to see.

Wake Wood have a solid story that is well phased, I really enjoyed myself during this movie and there where never a time when I begun to think about what I wanted for dinner or anything else like that, I was completely engrossed in the story and that is a good thing so thumbs up for that. I would however have preferred a bit more of an explanation in the end, like why did the fact that Alice had been dead over a year have the effect that it did for example. That being said while it would be nice with a bit more detailing here and there it is not strictly necessary, the story to wrap up in a decent way and I at least was very satisfied with it.

Wake Wood's actors do a good job, particularly the little girl who play Alice. The music in the movie add to the suspense and like I said the visuals of the film are beautiful, frequently disturbing but still beautiful, especially the resurrection ritual which is so gritty and and the same time so fascinating. All in all Wake Wood is a well crafted entry in the community horror genre and if you can stomach the frequent violence to animals and Alice's rather brutal death scene in the start of the movie then this film is well worth a watch. Wake Wood might have been made on a small budget but it is quality all the way through.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Pet Sematary, only better., July 7, 2011
By 
This review is from: Wake Wood (DVD)
The more I see radically superior foreign-made horror movies, the more I'm inclined to abandon America's paltry, banal, sordid output.

"Wake Wood" involves both the Swedish and Irish film boards, and it is a work of stylish, gothic-tinged terror that reminds me of the short stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the best works of Stephen King (apart from "The Stand," mostly his shorter works), and the original The Wicker Man (Limited Edition) (the original, not the gawdawful Nicholas Cage version).

Despite the recognizable familiarity of the storyline, the material is elevated by attention to mood and most especially, performance. This is a fine supernatural thriller that chills the viewer and doesn't insult her intelligence. Having said that, it's not all cerebral--there are a few scenes of visceral gore as well...but the movie doesn't stand or fall on those moments.

And while the effectiveness of the story is not dependent on twists (things unspool pretty much as one would expect them to), it does end with a satisfying little quirk.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, August 17, 2011
By 
This review is from: Wake Wood (DVD)
Idyllic, seemingly charming little villages have provided some terrifying backdrops for some creepy films: WICKER MAN, THE OTHER, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, to name a few.
Welcome to WAKE WOOD, an Irish village that becomes the new home for a young couple trying to deal with the tragic death of their little girl a year earlier.
While all seems normal, a dark but intriguing secret brings hope to the grieving parents...but at what cost.
WAKE WOOD is one of the new films made under a revised Hammer films banner and is quite well done. Aidan Gallen and Eva Birthistle are good as the parents; character actor Timothy Spall is fine as the eccentric town leader; and Emma Connolly is charming and chilling as little Alice. Michael Controventi's music is eerily effective. WAKE WOOD is an atmospheric thriller dealing more with the horror of loss and grief and the hope for one last goodbye. There's also a good twist at the end.
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Wake Wood
Wake Wood by David Keating (DVD - 2011)
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