October 25, 2020 12:14 pm |
Set in Autumn of 1973, The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw depicts a small village of Irish immigrants settled in North America for nearly a century, still clinging to their old ways of life and beliefs. Science and technology has remained absent from the community despite the advances throughout the world. For nearly 17 years, the villager’s land and livestock have been plagued by an event known as “The Eclipse”. One woman has seemingly been unaffected by this phenomenon and secretly raises a daughter born the night of the eclipse…Audrey.
As the title suggests, Audrey is the main focus of this story, played by Jessica Reynolds, who is in her film debut as the protagonist and delivers an impressive performance of a young girl’s transformation into adulthood. Sharing many scenes with her mother, Agatha, played by Catherine Walker, Reynolds gives a clear and eerie metamorphosis to the character of Audrey, which works well because of the relationship the two portray on screen. Through all of the mystery and discomfort of the premise, their mother and daughter bond is very apparent and makes the shift in Audrey’s personality more of a struggle for the audience to witness.
Along with these two actors are many more supporting actors who all bring their vetaran expertise. Jared Abrahamson and Anna Cummer play a married couple that goes through hell and back with a life changing event, only to further be intertwined in Audrey’s story. Their internal relationship struggles and attempts to cope are something that many people could probably relate to in some capacity and truly adds stakes to this story.
The village is arguably a character in itself. While set in 1973, director Thomas Robert Lee successfully set a tone for this village that gave the consistent feeling of gloom and despair. It was easy to forget that this story took place in a more modern time and felt like a period piece of the late 1800s, but reminded the audience with subtle moments of a plane flying over the horizon at one point or references to the access to new technology and science for help. It wasn’t just the people that felt worn down, the entire environment expanded on the severity of the community’s living conditions.
The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw is much less a horror film as the title suggests, but rather a suspenseful thriller set in a horror based backdrop. The entire ordeal plays out with the approach of a slow burn. Nothing really happens with jump scares or intense carnage. All of the tension is designed and built around the subtle intimate conversations and consistent discomfort from the unknown. However, there are moments of gore, which will be entirely unsettling for animal lovers, luckily those scenes are few and far between, but still very hard to digest. Other brutal moments highlight the actions of some community members that may seem insane. More so, the concept of a clear villain is diluted. While at times it seems apparent who the monsters and victims are, the story telling makes it hard to categorize any character as good or evil, which provides an uncomfortable parallel that the audience will recognize.
The whole film touches upon many issues in a manner that most viewers could identify with. Ideas of old beliefs impacting the evolution of a society, female empowerment, finding an identity, dealing with depression, and many other heavy topics are highlighted.
Unfortunately, by the end of the film, the audience will likely have more questions than answers of what took place throughout. Many plot points were left open or vague enough that it feels like unfinished story telling. It would have felt more satisfying to know more context to help with the world building. Instead, everything should be taken at face value and avoid trying to wrap your head around the why of it all. With an ambiguous ending, this could work well as a franchise to expand on these shortcomings, but it seems like this story is intended as a stand alone piece.
The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw delivers a tense atmosphere and unique take on a girl’s coming-of-age story, but falls short to expand on everything around it.
PCL Rating: Taste It
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: FRESH 🍅
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Categorised in: Movie Reviews
This post was written by Leftover Brian
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