Saturday, 31 January 2009


(First posted at CSNI on 10th October 2008)

I’m going to go a little off-topic today, and talk about a movie I went to see last night. Freakdog is a horror flick set in America, but it was written by a Northern Irish writer, filmed in Northern Ireland, backed by Northern Ireland Screen, produced by Generator Entertainment who operate from Northern Ireland and England, and it was directed by a Northern Irish director. So, American horror, but with a strong Northern Irish core.

Because I work in the same building as the writer, Spence Wright, I was lucky enough to read the script in two early drafts. You see, Spence has been kind of an unofficial screenwriting mentor to me this year, helping me out with my own script and passing out his contacts like they were Smarties. Thanks to him, I’ve secured funding and feedback from Northern Ireland Screen and approached a production company who’ve shown an interest in the film. And all I’ve done for him is buy him a few beers and attend the Northern Ireland premiere of Freakdog. And I really enjoyed the movie, so that’s hardly putting myself out, is it?

Anyway, the movie played in the Queen’s Film Theatre last night as part of the cinema’s fortieth anniversary celebrations. There was a great buzz in the lobby and in the actual theatre as Spence introduced the film before the projection wheels got to spinning.

The movie was made on a £1,000,000 budget, which seems a lot of money, but in the movie world it’s very low. But apart from the odd slip in accent from the British supporting actors (who I’m assuming were cheaper to employ than an all-American cast), I think the look and feel of the movie was up there with its slightly flusher contemporaries, and in many cases, surpassed them. What it lacked in polished sheen and acting ability was made up for by excellent writing on Spence's part and quality direction from Paddy Breathnach. And, you know, the slightly dark and grainy screen picture quality actually added something to the overall feel.

In his introduction, Spence used the words visceral and shocking to describe some of the more hard-hitting scenes. I’ll agree with his assessment, but the horror in this flick didn’t come from the gore for gore’s sake school of thought. This was no half-assed teen slasher flick. Suspense played a huge role throughout.

As leading lady, Catherine Thomas, Arielle Kebbel impressed me quite a bit. Very cute, but with a real dark look when it was needed. And I think the supporting character Sean Goodrich, played by Martin Compston, really shone through. Such a nasty wee piece of work with the sleekit looks to go with it. And of the British actors, his was probably the most convincing American accent. At least to my ears.

The movie will play as a preview at the QFT for a few nights next week and will see its official release closer to Christmas with a US DVD release in the New Year. Fingers crossed that this becomes a springboard for Spence’s writing career. The man deserves success.

No comments:

Post a Comment