Directed by Harrison Wall [Other horror films: N/A]
Ever since I heard the basic plot of this film (teens are infected by a virus and try to survive), I was intrigued. Part of it is because I’ve always wanted to see a serious take on this type of story (my dislike of Cabin Fever not being a surprise to many), and also, due to the film being British, I thought that’d add a little flavor. All-in-all, Weaverfish is a decent movie, but I think it could have been tightened up a bit, and it doesn’t end up an amazing watch.
I can appreciate the somber attitude the film possesses, though. At times, it’s almost naturalistic in it’s sluggish set-up – nothing overly horror even happens until maybe 45 minutes in. It gives us time to get to know some of these characters, which is a good thing, but it can feel quite slow, and doesn’t really pick up until the final twenty minutes. And throughout it all, it’s just a dreary, downbeat movie.
One element of the film is a bit different, being the narration. The main character has snippets of dialogue he speaks first-hand, as if he’s telling a story (example being “Matt will never know how lucky he is to have a girl like Charlotte Menary. Maybe she won’t know it either”). At worst, it can feel a little pretentious, but I sort of like the effect. Some of the dialogue can be a bit dramatic, and maybe other parts could feel awkward, but I don’t think it’s too negatively distracting in any case.
Another aspect, which can feel a bit daunting, is the amount of characters here. Granted, half of them aren’t important, but we’re basically thrown into a situation in which characters get little-to-no introduction, and for the first thirty minutes, you’re trying to figure out the pre-existing relationships these characters have. With ten names and faces (Reece, Shannon, Matt, Charlotte, Abby, Gavin, Mike, Kayleigh, Jo, and Chris) to try to keep track of, it can be a bit annoying.
I think the story is quite decent, though, sluggish portions aside. While having a party on a long-forbidden beach (years in the past, a boy went missing, and the lake and surrounding land have been cordoned off ever since), a sort of bacterial virus from the water gets many of those present sick. Throw in some background story of a defunct oil plant and some empty barrels of chemicals, and you have a fun time. Now, nothing is firmly stated come the end (partially because the film ends in a somewhat open manner), but the mysterious people hunting the infected kids down is still fun.
Shane O’Meara wasn’t the most emotive lead, but his narration grew on me, and he was probably one of the better characters in the film. Josh Ockenden did pretty good as a crappy character to begin with, but one who gets better as the film goes on. Lucy-Jane Quinlan was stable throughout, as were most of the rest of the cast, being John Doughty, Ripeka Templeton, Jessie Morell, and Duncan Casey, the best being probably Templeton and Doughty.
We do get some nice scenes toward the end, which were suitably creepy, but what’s even better about the ending is the fact we get a small flashback, showing the formation of Reece and Charlotte’s friendship. It’s a little scene, to be sure, but it packs decent emotion, and seemed to help the film end on the same somber note it’d held since the opening.
For many people, I suspect Weaverfish is just too slow to maintain full interest, but I personally dug it. It’s not a movie I’d revisit too often, but I do think it’s pros far outweigh it’s cons, so if you’re in the mood for something a bit more character-driven, this British film might be worth checking out.
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