In 2008, Hammer Films rose from the ashes with the web release of Beyond The Rave. That same year, director David Keating filmed Wake Wood in Ireland, leading to Hammer’s official return to theaters with an appearance the 2009 Lund International Fantastic Film Festival. However, the movie wouldn’t get a limited release until March 25, 2011, just three days before it was released on DVD in the UK. A US release followed shortly thereafter, by which time Let Me In and The Resident had already been released. As a result, Wake Wood, the film that really brought Hammer back to life was lost in the shuffle of previous releases. The movie is about a young girl named Alice who is killed a dog in the start of our story. Her grieving parents, Patrick and Louise, move to a small village named Wake Wood to recover from their loss, only to find out the true horror has just begun. After her parents give in to a village ritual that would bring their daughter back to life for three days, young Alice comes back. Apparently, these people never read or watched Pet Semetary, because sometimes “dead is better.”
Aiden Gillan heads up our cast as Patrick, the grieving father and husband to Louise, played by Eve Birthistle, mostly known for countless appearances on British TV. Aiden is best known now as Petyr Baelish on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. Timothy Spall plays Arthur, the village leader. He’s not a household name but you’ll recognize the face as that of Wormtail from the Harry Potter films. The cast does a fine job with the limited material they are given. The story is nothing new as you really will get a feeling you’re watching a remake of Pet Semetary. Ella Connelly does a fine job as the creepy Alice, channeling decades of creepy horror movie kids before her. Nothing like a good, creepy kid to make the movie a little better. I felt the movie was as equally satisfying as The Resident, which is really saying I can understand why it went straight to DVD here in the states. It’s still not quite like classic Hammer and, to be honest, would probably be forgotten were it not for the Hammer name. It’s worth a rental and it’s enjoyable while you’re watching it. However, I doubt you’ll add it to your annual Halloween viewing list.