Fantasia 2020: The Curse Of Audrey Earnshaw

  • Director: Thomas Robert Lee
  • Writer: Thomas Robert Lee
  • Stars: Catherine Walker, Jessica Reynolds, Hannah Emily Anderson, Jared Abrahamson, Don McKellar

Review

Audrey (Reynolds) along with her mother, Agatha (Walker) live alone on a rural property outside of the nearest town. Due to the townspeople’s religious background and supersition, Agatha has hidden Audrey from the sight of any people from the town, due to when Audrey was born and the associated connotations of Agatha being involved in witchcraft. Audrey, now a teen is keen to branch out and grow up but Agatha won’t let that happen. After a run in with a man from the town, the superstitions, the whispers and Audrey’s burgeoning powers all begin to rise together.

The film is shot beautifully by Cinematogpher Nick Thomas, the washed out town and sparse frosty landscape bring a sense of hoplessness. That hopeless feeling permeates throughout, it is a quiet film but that makes every moment feel more intense. Reynolds and Walker get the mother/daughter relationship right, albeit a weird, strained controlling one. Agatha will protect Audrey at any cost, whilst Audrey doesn’t understand why she needs to be protected at all.

Lee has a written a slow creeping film. Days later I am still getting hit with moments of realisation in certain scene which at the time didn’t land in that way. Much like Robert Egger’s The Witch, The Curse Of Audrey Earnshaw sneaks up on you in a way that you don’t expect and when it does grab you it doesn’t let go.

A film that lets dread slowly fall on you and settle. Like the townspeople’s having misery and hardship piled up on them, it seeps through and ends up infecting them. Where no amount of faith, prayers or belief can stop the atrocities, where do you go?

The film has no jump scares or anything like that, it is just a straight out creepy story that is allegorical in many ways. Lee has made a great, unsettling film, one that should have audiences thinking about it for days after the credits roll.

Played at Fantasia International Film Festival 2020

Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78

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