Hammer: a hand tool consisting of a solid head set crosswise on a handle and used for pounding.
Hammer: a film production company consisting of a solid head set crosswise on a handle and use for pounding the fear/piss/blood/shit/guts etc. out of you.
Please consider that I am an old Hammer fan. The posters for the Horror of Dracula and the Mummy may be tattooed on my back one day. I’m pretty sure that I know Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing intimately solely from watching them in so many movies. I haven’t seen them all, but I love Hammer Studios. Old Hammer. New Hammer? New Hammer has carried the torch, re lit it, carried it around with as many villagers as you can count and then burned the fuckin’ monster tower to the ground… then resurrected the monster for a sequel and another and… well not yet anyway. New Hammer is incredible. I am a fan. I have seen Let Me In and loved it. I have now seen Wake Wood, and my opinion is that you must see this picture.
Wake Wood is a the story of irresponsible parents who find their daughter brutally and somewhat avoidably ravaged/mutilated/de-throated only to be given… a second chance to be with her for a short time. What follows is a little Wicker Man, a little Pet Semetery, a little Omen even. You splice those movies together, give it a great cast and a bad soundtrack, a dash of barnyard living and you have Wake Wood.
First thoughts on this one were not good at all. I considered shutting this fucker down within the first ten minutes. It was slow to simmer in my brain. Animal mutilation here. Dead kid there. Things weren’t adding up and it frankly got a bit confusing… for like a second. Then I realized that we were about to witness a kick ass Pagan ritual that put the Wicker Man to shame (hard to believe I realize). Then we were about to see Gage resurrected straight out of a Stephen King novel only to find that’s he’s changed sex, given more time to become evil and doesn’t look nearly as scary as he did when he was in Maine (Ireland must have a slower “return from the dead to killer child” life cycle). Hidden evil… oooooo.
There aren’t really animal mutilations per say… its best to keep your Vegan friends away from this and most horror pictures unless they’re human hating Vegans: Boy does the use of life on the farm work for this picture. I mean I sat through the Traces of Death one, two and three (couldn’t find four) while eating a roast beef sandwich and the shit I saw in Wake Wood was pure beautiful gross out. The effects guys on this one need awards, so vote for them when you can and often. Find out where you can vote for them in any award show possible. Don’t delay. Just find random polls and vote for the effects team from this picture whether it’s a horror/effects related poll or not. If they win they deserve it.
After watching Wake Wood, I think all us horror fans need to come to a consensus on a very important issue. If you’re family member should kick the bucket… even as a child, we do not bring said child/family member back to life. Are we clear? There’s no good reason to challenge nature in this way. We, as horror fans, know that it never works out the way you think it will. Take for instance zombies. We, as horror fans, know that you do not open barrels that were government issued and have strange chemical names with number next to them. This brings the undead. It’s the only thing It could possibly bring. On a similar note, we know, as horror fans, that if the slightly smallish, elderly lady down the hall brings you Tanus root and is overjoyed about your pregnancy to the point of forcing the shit down your throat, you move out. Fast. If your husband doesn’t agree, he’s definitely working with them. Tanus could have a different name, but in any scenario this pretty much guarantees that your child is going to be laughed at for having horns and a tail and brought straight to the devil for certain (even if he is the antichrist and the year is one). Cautionary tales seem to be ignored in horror movies which is to say that in the Ven diagram of horror the characters in one story have not read/seen the experiences of another in a separate story. It’s as if the history of horror re-writes itself for each and every picture. Don’t let yourself become a victim of this… this is the really real world.
This movie will touch you on a few levels. The little girl who dies is awfully sweet and you hate to see her go but you love to watch her kill. The parents, no matter how ignorant, seem to really step up their game when it comes to assisting in blasphemous Pagan rituals (it’s probably like coaching little league). The music belongs in a different movie. I’m positive it was accidentally synced with Wake Wood. It may have been an editing room joke. If someone reads this and can do something about the soundtrack, please do and issue it as the super dee duper director’s cut that will terrify your eyes, your mind and your ears.
This one will be on my top five movies of 2011 for certain. It may even break into my top twenty of all time with a few more viewings and a few behind the scenes/bio reels. Better get out to see this one. If you can catch it in the theatre at a limited screening, skip dinner with the parents, engagement dinners and Easter Sunday. Hammer does it again folks. Keep up the good work ya creepy Brits.
-Dr. (don’t hate on my Amicus namesake) Terror