“Heartbreaking Henry James-style ghost story set on a council estate”
One of the best films shown at Frightfest 2014, and one of my top ten films of that year, finally gets a UK DVD release courtesy of Metrodome.
Teenager Tommy (Clem Tibber) ends up squatting with his father Mark (Shaun Dingwall) in a flat on an abandoned council estate. While Mark keeps busy at night ripping out lengths of copper pipe to sell, or bringing prostitutes back to do unmentionable things to them that get him beaten up by their pimps, Tommy is hearing noises from the boarded up flat next door.
When Mark ends up in hospital after a savage beating, Tommy, together with his newfound friend Carmen (Elarica Gallacher) investigate and discover the flat has a history of brutal murder and may still be haunted by the events.
At Frightfest co-writer James Hall and co-writer and director Oliver Frampton told me they were aiming for a Henry James-style ghost story but set on an abandoned housing estate to give it a modern feel. They’ve actually succeeded superbly well. The absence of power in the empty, rotting buildings means people have to use the modern-day equivalent of candle-light to find their way around, and there’s a refreshing complexity to the ghost story that unfolds that we sadly don’t see much these days, but is very reminiscent of the macabre tales of Mr James.
Acting is excellent across the board, and special mention should also be made of the sound design (which reminded me of Delia Derbyshire’s work on 1973’s LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE) and the music score by Paul Frith, which is as ambitious as it is effective. This is another fine production from the producer who brought us modern classics like THE BORDERLANDS and THE DEVIL’S BUSINESS and means I’ll watch anything Jennifer Handorf lends her name to in the future.
Metrodome’s DVD is bare bones, with a choice of two sound mixes but nothing else. THE FORGOTTEN is still going to be one of the best and most affecting ghost stories you’ll see this year, though, so don’t let that put you off.
Oliver Frampton's THE FORGOTTEN is out on DVD from Metrodome on 2nd May 2016