Indie horror-flick The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw ended up surprising me a lot. I wasn’t expecting the narrative to go down the route it did, and for that, I applaud it.
I was provided with a free screener of The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.
The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw is set during the harvest season of 1973. The story takes place in a small Protestant community that has secluded itself from the rest of the world. It’s very The Village in that sense. However, everyone knows there’s a modern world out there. They just don’t want anything to do with it.
But while The Village was set in the world of reality, there’s occultist black magic abound in this film. Audrey’s mother, Agatha (Catherine Walker), has been blamed for the tough times being experienced by the community. No one can grow food. But Agatha’s farm is thriving. Things started to go bad during a mysterious eclipse that occurred years ago. Also, Agatha has kept her teen daughter Audrey a secret from the rest.
As things continue to become worse for the community, paranoia persists. Not only does Agatha need to protect herself from other people, but she also has to keep control of Audrey because her daughter doesn’t understand why they have to hide who they are.
“I wanted to tell a story about legacy, and to specifically explore it within the context of a folk horror narrative,” writer/director Thomas Robert Lee shared in a press release. “The community grows increasingly desperate as their given circumstances grow dire. In reality, the pandemic appears to have amplified hatred and xenophobia, or at least the voices of those spewing hate speech. Obviously, there is a world of difference between my screenplay and the very real ramifications of the pandemic, but the similarities, however surface-level they may be, have certainly been on my mind these past months.”
I enjoyed the slow-burn aspect of this film. I don’t remember a single jump scare. And you know what? That’s good. In my opinion, creating slow-burn horror content is tougher than trying to scare viewers every few minutes with a surprise.
The narrative style is helped a lot by the creepy-looking small village (surrounded by tall trees) this story takes place in. Also, the harvest season created an eerie vibe during the nighttime scenes featuring the Autumn fog. I wouldn’t walk around such a village at night without a weapon in hand.
As far as I can tell, the main theme is about revenge and seeking justice (whatever said justice meant to you). Audrey’s tired of her mother being afraid of the community. Audrey’s coming into her own as a young teen, and she wants freedom. A physical altercation during Agatha’s route through the village causes Audrey to seek payback. What follows is a sequence of events as things turn worse for the inhabitants while Audrey pulls the strings.
Kudos to actress Jesicca Reynolds for giving an impressive performance. I think she depicted Audrey’s personality quite well. The titular character looks young and innocent, but there is a dangerous level of cruelty inside of her.
I also liked Hannah Emily Anderson as the troubled Bridget Dwyer. I think the narrative also touched upon abortion rights through her character.
Now, while I enjoyed the overall unpredictability (writing this review without giving spoilers was kind of tough), the plot might leave some people wanting more. Even I had some questions that were left unanswered, especially concerning the cult Audrey and her mother are members of. Maybe not offering detailed answers was an intentional move to amp up the scares? Hmmm.
The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw got a limited theatrical release on October 2, 2020. It’s currently available on VOD and Digital.
If you’re into a woman-centric horror tale of witchcraft and revenge, you should consider checking out The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw.
Let us know if you have already watched it.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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