Blackwood is a refreshingly dark take on a mostly saturated genre as it explores the depths and dangers of falling into a narcissistic melancholia. At first, the films overused horror tactics seem like its only objective is to get an immediate reaction from the audience, but towards the end it is made clear that these basic cinematic conventions for suspense films culminates in the story of a family drama; an all too real horror for some.
Dominic’s insanity is entirely his own, unlike in various Hollywood horrors in which the problem is seen to lie with supernatural forces beyond the protagonists’ control. Throughout the first half of the film the beautiful cinematography of impressive autumnal landscapes make up for the lacklustre performances. However, Blackwood maintains a level of interest as Adam Wimpenny successfully manages to incorporate relatable issues such as abuse into the supernatural thriller.
The film begins with shots of creaking cogs, rain dripping, darkness and tree branches, questioning the psychology behind what we fear and why we fear it. These overused motifs in suspense thrillers are contrasted with the end of the film and the reality of the disintegration of the family. Obsession, paranoia and narcissism are the character’s ultimate enemies and through Dominic, we see the immensely destructive results of these attributes that in the end lead to his demise.
Although the main character is extremely unlikeable and some of the performances somewhat wooden, Blackwood is an ultimately interesting combination of genres that plays on our deepest and most attainable fears; it is not ghosts and demons that we should be afraid of but ourselves.
Blackwood is released nationwide on 1st August 2014.
Watch the trailer for Blackwood here: