Dark lands was directed by Julian Richards who also directed The Last Horror Movie(2003) ,Summer Scars(2007) and Shivers(2012) starring Danielle Harris.
Dark lands stars Craig Fairbrass (Cliffhanger,Rise Of The Footsoldier, Eastenders), Rowena King (The Bucket List,Proof Of Life), Dave Duffy (In The Name Of The Father,Into The West ,Fair City) and the late Jon Finch (Vampire Lovers,Horror Of Frankenstein,Hammer House Of Horror, Kingdom Of Heaven)
I cant think of another Welsh horror film other than the one I watched this morning which was Devil's Bridge so for me to end up watching two Welsh horror films in one day by sheer accident is very strange indeed. Another strange occurrence is for me to find an English language 90s horror film that I have not seen before, especially one that isn't half bad. You see as a child of the 80's I grew up in the midst of the video rental era,as I was too young I missed a lot of the 80's classics but I honestly think I rented more horror films in the 90's than any other person on the planet so it isn't often I come across a 90's horror film that I haven't seen unless it foreign or very obscure. The first time I heard of Welsh director Julian Richards is when I saw The Last Horror Movie almost ten years ago. Not to be confused with the similarly titled 1982 film The Last Horror Film starring Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro, I remember really enjoying Julian Richards' found footage serial killer diary and I dont know why I didn't check to see what other films he had made. As far as I know last years UK and Ireland dvd release of Darklands by Metrodome Distribution is its' first proper release this side of the pond since its' VHS release.
After losing his job in London, a reporter moves back to his quiet Welsh hometown and goes back working for his local newspaper. The film begins with a Wicker Man style ceremony with chanting and dancing and then a truck arrives releasing a pig to be sacrificially slaughtered. Later on that pig turns up hanging from the alter of a church with its' blood used to cover the walls in writing. Apparently this isn't the first time this has happened and reporter Frazer Truick (Craig Fairbrass) is put on the case. His boss also assigns journalism student Rachel Morris (Rowena King) to help him out but she isn't just there for work experience ,she asks Truick to help her solve her brothers' murder. Rachel reveals that before her brothers' so-called accidental death at the steel mill where he worked that he was after getting involved in some sort of cult and feared for his life, this makes Truick think that her brothers murder and the animal sacrifices are somehow linked. After investigating at the steel mill,the halting site next to it, a run in with some unfriendly gypsies,a few encounters with a strangely familiar ginger Irishman in a leather trench coat by the name of Carter and Father Dennis Cox who seems to have all the answers Truick soon realises that everything isn't as it seems. His new friend Rachel isn't who she says she is and he himself isn't who he thought he was. The town holds a dark secret which goes back centuries and his birthright is the key.
Dark lands is by no means a great film but I still enjoyed the hell out of it. You cant help but compare it to films such as The Wicker Man and Rosemary's Baby,and I think Ben Wheatley's 2011 film Kill List was clearly inspired by it. It could be compared to any other classic cult films- The Devil Rides Out,To The Devil A Daughter, I think the main thing that sets it apart from films like those and The Wicker Man is its' 90's small town Wales setting, not a familiar setting for a horror film. The one thing that cracked me up is the ginger leather trench coat wearing Mr. Carver, I spent the entire film trying to figure out where I recognized him from only to finally realize - that's Leo from Fair City! .... not that I watch that crap or anything.
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