Director: Axelle Carolyn
Writer: Axelle Carolyn
Stars: Anna Walton, Tom Wisdom, Tanya Myers
Although Neil Marshall has taken a step back from directing films in recent years – a great shame, as he is amongst our most talented filmmakers – he does occasionally dip his toe back into the industry, for instance by producing his wife
‘s debut release Soulmate in 2013. This, however, is a very different proposition to the type of thing that Marshall is more commonly associated with, featuring none of the slap-bang action sequences and sense of pacing that have become his trademark; instead it is a low key, emotionally intelligent and, dare I say it, sensitive affair. It is, in other words, very much a woman’s film.
Anna Walton plays Audrey, overcome with grief and recovering from a suicide attempt after the death of her husband. Hoping to get away from it all and find some kind of peace she hires a cottage in the Welsh mountains, but it turns out to be haunted by the ghost of a former owner, Douglas (Tom Wisdom). Although initially scared by him, Audrey gradually begins to find comfort in his companionship and furthermore the two of them become friends. But as she begins to recover from her depression the likelihood of her returning home becomes more prescient, whereas Douglas has become used to having her around…
This went down well on the festival circuit and is undoubtedly a strong film, effectively shot and with a good sense of atmosphere. It also benefits greatly from the performance of Anna Walton, who has put in effective turns in a variety of low budget films (The Mutant Chronicles, Deviation, The Seasoning House) in recent years. However, it is also far from perfect: it’s possibly too measured for its own good and, as a result, is stronger on dialogue than in generating any real sense of danger. The central idea – a reworking of The Ghost and Mrs Muir – is a little bit cheesy for the modern age, and it’s let down by a climax that doesn’t really seem to fit. It’s interesting comparing it to Lord of Tears, a similarly inclined production: it’s undoubtedly more professionally made, but it doesn’t have that capacity to lodge itself in the mind in the same way and, quite frankly, isn’t as scary.