The Dungeon Moor Killings

The Dungeon Moor Killings


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

If you go out on the moor today, you're in for a nasty surprise - but let's face it, you probably expected that. The Dungeon Moor Killings makes no secret of its agenda, but as any horror fan will tell you, it's how you go about it that counts.

The heroes of this film are Mark (Gavin Paul) and Adam (Ross Hornby), a couple of amateur documentary makers hoping to snag some footage of the big cats rumoured to stalk remote Scottish moors. They're a likeable pair whose banter is refreshingly realistic, albeit a little heavy on exposition in the early scenes.

Travelling out of the city to a commune where they meet Adam's mate Phil (Gilchrist Muir) and his friends Marina and Summer, they get their camping gear together and head out into the wilderness. But things soon start to go wrong. They're unnerved to discover that a girl recently went missing on the moor, never to be seen again. They find themselves threatened when they explore an isolated farmhouse; they learn a sinister secret about a local cave; and they become convinced that someone - or something - is stalking around their camp at night.

So far, so Blair Witch Project, but The Dungeon Moor Killings has a few more twists to its story and a different tone. It's not until things go really wrong that our heroes lose their resilient and rather charming self-centeredness - until then they're more concerned about who's sleeping with who and the proper way to drink beer. Once we veer off into slasher territory the action becomes more formulaic and the dialogue less interesting, and the film has a terrible tendency to make excuses for itself when its internal logic goes astray, but this is curiously easy to forgive. There's such a spirit of good humour and bravura low-budget creativity about the whole thing that it's enormously likeable.

There are some impressive performances on display here. All the young people are good, with Maria Thordar the standout, turning what might have been a typically shallow damsel in distress into a rounded human being we can actually care about. And the film has lots of fun with old-fashioned, Hammer-style horror cliches. Just what is that creepy scientist up to in his lab? What do the military want with it?

The chances are that you'll see many better films than The Dungeon Moor Killings this year, but you won't see many you enjoy as much.

Reviewed on: 13 Feb 2009
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Two young filmmakers searching for big cats suddenly find themselves being hunted.

Director: Jim Hickey

Writer: Jonathan Hickey, Ross Crombie

Starring: Gavin Paul, Ross Hornby, Robin Mitchell, Maria Thordar, Gilchrist Muir, Cassandra Steele, Lauren Pope

Year: 2008

Runtime: 80 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


Glasgow 2009

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