It’s always tragic when a young child is taken from this earth before their time but it’s even more tragic if it’s a violent death which is what happens to little Alice (Ella Connolly) when she is ravaged by a dog and thus is how Wake Wood (2010) opens. Grieving for the death of their daughter Patrick (Aidan Gillen) and Louise (Eva Birthistle) move to the town of Wake Wood in order to move on with their lives. It is not long before Patrick and Louise are taken in by the town’s local leader Arthur (Timothy Spall).
One night during a walk into the woods Patrick and Louise come across Arthur and other members of the town performing some type of ritual in which Louise witnesses someone being “reborn.” They flee to their home where they are discovered and come face to face with Arthur who was at the head of the ritual. Arthur tells them that the ritual is an ancient custom that can allow a recently dead person to be resurrected for three days in order for the family to say their proper goodbyes. He offers Patrick and Louise this opportunity.
Patrick and Louise who are still suffering from Alice’s death want nothing more than to see their little girl again and thus they are initiated into the town’s secret cabal. After they perform the ritual and Alice is returned to them, Patrick and Louise begin to notice little differences in Alice’s behavior and appearance. Louise begins to think that something may have gone wrong with the ritual since they were not entirely truthful to Arthur during the ritual. Patrick and Louise’s secrets may not have only damaged a returned from the dead Alice but also the future of Wake Wood itself.
The story of Wake Wood is a slow build but a necessary one as the audience eases into this “other” world of the town of Wake Wood. As seen through the naïve eyes of Patrick and Louise a lot of what the townspeople of Wake Wood might be doing may be extreme but it is for good cause because playing with life or death is unpredictable and dangerous as Patrick and Louise will soon find out.
The film is directed by David Keating who has a strong grasp of the material allowing the film to ease into its story without all the needless “jump scares” most associated with the horror genre. Also, the cast does an extremely good job with the material and there is even plenty of blood splatter for the gore horror film. This is one of those rare horror films that will appease all types of horror fans.