While Hollywood eats itself with its annual serving of remakes and reboots, the horror icons of the past few decades are crawling back onto our screens like neutered echoes of their terror inspiring forebears.
It is reassuring then that some of the most effective horror to enter our cinemas have been original stories such as The Orphanage and Pan’s Labyrinth, and now we’re getting news of a film which looks likely to rekindle the flame of classic British horror with The Awakening.
BBC Films, Studio Canal and Scottish Screen are producing and we’ve got a synopsis and a few big names in the cast. Here’s what Screen Daily gave as the synopsis,
Set in post-World War I England in 1921, the film follows a skeptical woman who travels to a countryside boarding school to investigate rumours of an apparent haunting. Just when she thinks she has debunked the ghost theory, she has a chilling spectral encounter which defies all her rational beliefs.
Immediately this synopsis conjured up images of The Haunting, The Innocents, The Stone Tapes – each truly chilling renditions of a fairly standard horror cliche, and those in any doubt of the legitimacy of the creative team behind this one need look no further than the man who has co-written the script with director Nick Murphy, Stephen Volk.
Volk’s work often draws inspiration from the supernatural, witnessed with his screenplay for Ken Russell’s Gothic and, most notably, his BBC TV play Ghostwatch (which we buried alive under a ton of praise here), which remains one of the finest pieces of haunting TV ever broadcast. He is among the very few writers to literally chill me with his prose. I have very high hopes for this one.
The casting of Dominic West and Rebecca Hall brings two of the most exciting talents to this story, and Screen Daily also report that Imelda Staunton is also signed up to the film. All signs are pointing to a rarity on the big screens these days, a horror film which will actually scare you.
Count me in.