23 March 2011 | amesmonde
Simpson's debut packs enough originality
Four London Art Students squat in a derelict house to save money with the intention to live-free in a meaningful, creative and partying student lifestyle environment. However, they find themselves trapped inside a large house and their unlawful entry may come at a price, possibly their lives.
Daniel Simpson's director / writer feature film debut is an exciting offering of a well-crafted film with an effective and expensive looking production design. The lighting is excellent, creating a dark and ominous atmosphere in the confinement of the empty building. He throws in enough camera angles, movement and cuts though-out to prevent events ever becoming static.
Spiderhole begins customary enough with a carefree student Molly having a check-up at the doctors on a sunny London's day, but once she meets her three friends to go on a squatting adventure of free spirited living things take a turn for the worse and it becomes a claustrophobic nightmare.
Simpson sets-up the perfect intro for a haunted house thriller, shadowy corridors, locked doors, complete with bangs and bumps. You almost feel you're in for a rework of 1962 The Haunting. Nevertheless, as the supernatural element is dispensed with and the 'torture porn' element begins with plenty of blood, mind-games and grime to get Saw-esque fans jumping in their seats. Executed with some excellent practical and realistic looking effects and blood.
Although the characters are thrust into the horror very quickly the Brit slang dialogue is naturalistic enough to keep the tension on track. George Maguire's performance as the edgy sculpture lover is notable and Molly character is written logically and cleverer than most heroines of this genre and is wonderfully played by Emma Griffiths Malin. Both Amy Noble and Reuben-Henry Biggs are more than adequate in the supporting roles and a nod goes to John Regan's subtle performance as The Captor.
Jason Cooper & Oliver Krauss score and the sound design is pounding, nauseating which fittingly adds to the on screen action, touching nerves and senses, evocative of the feelings stirred by Marco Beltrami & Marilyn Manson's RE (2002) score.
Some plot and style elements are reminiscent of Creep, The Collector, Severance, REC, Catacombs, Hostel and Saw 2 to name a few, however, there's enough originality, mystery, twists and a surprise ending to satisfy the casual horror viewer. Overall, if you enjoy blood, torture and captivity Spiderhole is made for you.