Yr Ymadawiad (The Passing)
Suspense and mystery in the unforgiving Welsh countryside set the tone for this Welsh-language feature film, directed by Gareth Bryn. When two twenty-somethings find themselves stranded, they are taken in by a landowner, who holds close the secrets of his past almost as much as his guests. Well-paced and tense until the very end, it is carefully crafted and will delight lovers of horror and drama alike.
Up in the mountains Stanley (Mark Lewis Jones) lives a simple life, tending to his isolated farm, but when he stumbles upon a crashed car in a ravine he finds young couple Iwan (Dyfan Dwyfor) and Sara (Annes Elwy) hurt and in need of help. Taking them back to his home, he helps to nurse Sara back to health, watched by the mistrustful eyes of Iwan. As tensions rise, their patience with each other soon runs out, and dark secrets begin to be uncovered.
Although the setting of The Passing could have been used to greater effect to add more horror aspects, it does the film many favours; amid the gloomy forest and rain-soaked mountains, this is a backdrop in which only the creepiest events could unfold. The house is also well designed, and with the lack of electricity and running water it could have made for a truly terrifying horror film, but instead the production chooses instead to veer more closely towards drama. Whether or not this is a bad decision is debatable, since the hybrid cross-genre movie that it is still has merit. The backstories of both Stanley and the young couple are interesting to watch unfold, and their plausibility, since they are created to work in a real-life drama context, make them all the more haunting.
The acting is also impressive, leaving little to be desired; any language barrier is soon forgotten beneath the consuming weight of the storyline. Overall it is a dramatic film that masters the art of suspense and offers a brilliant twist at the end. Whether it would be even better as a full-on horror film is up for debate.
The Passing is released in selected cinemas on 8th April 2016.
Watch the trailer for The Passing here: