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Wake Wood

Release Year:   2009
Studio:   Hammer
Format:   Colour; NTSC; Widescreen
Rated:   R
# of Discs:   1
Running Time:   90 m
DVD Release Date:   June 28, 2011

Screenwriters:   David Keating, Brendan McCarthy
Director:   David Keating
Actors:   Aidan Gillen, Eva Birthistle, Timothy Spall, Ella Connolly, Ruth McCabe, Brian Gleeson, Amelia Crowley
DVD Features:   Deleted Scenes; Trailer; Subtitles in English and Spanish
E: Top Picks Rating:   8/10

Hammer Write-up: 
After the sudden and violent death of their 9-year-old daughter Alice, Patrick and Louise relocate to the remote town of Wake Wood to start their lives anew. But they quickly discover that beneath its idyllic country façade the town holds a dark and mystifying secret – a centuries-old pagan ritual that brings the dead back to life for three days. Desperate to say the goodbye they never had the chance to, Patrick and Louise agree to resurrect Alice. But their daughter is different now, and with time quickly running out, the couple will have to decide if their love for her truly transcends the boundaries of life and death.

Jon Ted Wynne Review: 
Classic horror film aficionados will welcome the return of Hammer Films, the company that was at the forefront of the horror film resurgence in the 1950s with re-makes of such classic films as “Frankenstein”, “Dracula” and just about any other monster you can remember.

The demise of the studio in the 1970s was the result of changing tastes as much as economics. With the tendency to go in the sickening direction of that shameful sub-genre called Torture Porn, it is a welcome relief to see Hammer Films poised to return to the game. At least if the intelligent thriller Wake Wood is any indication.

WAKE WOOD was the first film produced by Hammer in thirty years. While it is not flawless, it is still very good, with a theme not unlike the original version of “The Wicker Man”, in that it draws upon pagan customs in rural Great Britain.

As in many Hammer films, WAKE WOOD is set in a remote town (called Wake Wood). The isolation of the main characters in this setting is integral to the suspense as it means they are basically on their own against whatever they encounter.

When a young couple, Patrick and Louise, lose their beloved daughter, they become aware of a pagan resurrection ritual. Eager to bring their daughter back to life if only long enough to say a proper goodbye, the grieving parents agree to participate in the ritual. But at what cost? And who really pays the price? Classic thriller stuff.

The film is very atmospheric and character actor Timothy Spall is particularly good. He more than compensates for the one-note performance of Aidan Gillen as Patrick.

A bonus on the DVD is the deleted scenes. Usually such extras serve no real purpose, but it is very interesting to watch the long version of the resurrection scene and see how wisely the filmmakers were to cut it down.

WAKE WOOD is tasteful, well-orchestrated horror. Welcome back, Hammer! We missed you!