The Loch Ness Horror


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

The Loch Ness Horror
"“What is this about?” one of the characters eventually demands, of no-one in particular. One might well ask – but hey, there’s a giant monster involved, and that’s what you’re watching for, right?"

Practically everyone in Scottish cinema has, at some point or another, discussed the idea of making a Loch Ness Monster movie. She’s our monster – why don’t we take better advantage of that? To date, however, homegrown efforts have tended to be aimed at children, reflecting the affection which most Scots feel towards the probably imaginary but nonetheless cherished beast. This film – though it seems to be mostly English-led and hinges on interest from London which seems unlikely at best – at least gets at little closer to the fearsome potential of the thing.

If anything were to make British authorities truly enthusiastic about devolution, one imagines that it would be a giant monster on the loose in Scottish waters – clearly a fisheries or environmental health issue and therefore not their problem. There’s a lot of crossover between public and corporate concerns, however, and with some of those sent to investigate unaware that there’s monster at all, it’s clear from the start that shady interests are involved. Precisely what these are never becomes clear. Are they trophy hunters? Do they want to weaponise Nessie? “What is this about?” one of the characters eventually demands, of no-one in particular. One might well ask – but hey, there’s a giant monster involved, and that’s what you’re watching for, right?

Copy picture

Exactly how this particular giant monster came to be involved is still more of a mystery. The action takes place at sea, utilising a variety of mismatched ship and submarine interiors and exteriors which include a type-214 Air Independent Submarine, what is probably HMS Javelin, and what is pretty definitely HMS Cavalier [1]. By any measure of comparative scale, in order to reach them Nessie would already have had to do considerable damage to the banks of the Caledonian Canal, also destroying several locks and at least one Tesco Superstore. By then, one might think that even Londoners would have learned that something was amiss. But no, diver Willow (Lila Lasso) think she’s going on a rescue mission to locate a stranded crew. It’s only by accident that her line manager, Ava (May Kelly) discovers the truth – cue a lot of gun-waving and shouting and a chase sequence written by somebody who clearly has no idea how doors in ships work.

Exactly why Ava has been sent there at all is unclear. She seems like the sort of person whose comfort zone extends no further than sales reports and the occasional firm conversation about fair sharing of the office biscuit supply, yet when things go pear shaped she’s the one who’s left in charge of an injured man, and is seemingly as freaked out by his condition as he is. The medkit she has to hand inexplicably contains only paper towels, but at least they’re useful for mopping up the tomato soup which keeps spilling out of him.

As the largely useless humans – who also include a young couple more focused on one another than on trivia like not getting killed – we do get a fair number of monster sequences, and the CGI, though it leaves quite a bit to be desired, is better than in some similar productions. There is enough substance to the beast that we can enjoy her, even if director Tyler-James tends to cut away before the, um, crunch, thereby avoiding having to animate the difficult bits. None of the vessels posing as one in this film has the equipment for launching a shark cage, but viewers will excuse that in light of the entertaining, snappy little sequence it allows for. Harder to forgive is the way that characters repeatedly stand around on deck shouting and waiting to be eaten instead of utilising the simple trick of going inside though doors too narrow for the monster’s head.

Tyler-James has form for this sort of thing, having previously delivered titles like Deadly Waters, Sky Monster and Dinosaur Prison, which do exactly what they say on the tin. Here there’s some cheery pilfering from Cloverfield to keep the action going when it becomes clear that the survivors could just wait the whole thing out. it’s not particularly well delivered, but it serves a purpose. The same could be said of the film as a whole, even if that purpose is merely to illustrate the potential that the monster has to offer were she ever brought to the screen with adequate financing and talent.

[1] Thanks to Andrew Robertson for maritime geekery.

Reviewed on: 07 Oct 2023
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The Loch Ness Horror packshot
A group of people, dispatched to investigate the disappearance of a ship, find themselves confronted by something monstrous.

Director: Tyler-James

Writer: Tyler-James

Starring: Becca Hirani, May Kelly, Matthew Baunsgard, Lila Lasso, Tara MacGowran, Beatrice Fletcher

Year: 2023

Runtime: 78 minutes


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