Wake Wood (2010) – Review

When two parents are granted a chance to see their deceased daughter once again, things can go terribly wrong, not only because this is unnatural in every way, but also because bringing people back from the dead is hardly ever a joyous occasion.

In Wake Wood, the story follows Patrick (Aidan Gillen) and Louise (Eva Birthistle), a couple who struggles to get over their daughter’s sudden death after being killed by a savage dog. In order to cope with their loss, they decide to move to the remote town of Wakewood in search of peace and solemn. The chilling, dark woods of Ireland, where this movie is set, add up to the gloomy ambiance of Wake Wood and go well with the general feeling of total isolation amongst crazy villagers.

As they are on the verge of putting an end to their miserable and decayed relationship without their only child, they happen to witness a bizarre and completely surreal event, which reveals the town’s dark secret.

Dead resurrection and some sort of re-birth is Wakewood’s thing and the tragic figures of Patrick and Louise are given the opportunity to see their daughter once again until she has to go back to the dead for good.

They immediately grasp the opportunity to hold little Alice in their arms for one more time, but a tiny mishap will cause mayhem to the seemingly peaceful – but yet grim and macabre – rural town and the happy family reconnection will be followed by blood, gore violence and death.

The deal with Wake Wood is quite unique. On one hand, its concept is particularly interesting and it goes beyond black magic and witchcraft nonsense. We’ve seen enough of that and it is a big success that this movie doesn’t focus on that aspect of horror, although it can be rather eerie sometimes.

The main focus here is the resurrection of the dead, which is perceived as an innocent procedure that brings hope and happiness to those who take part in it. Now what exactly is resurrected and whether that’s a good thing, it depends on each case and whether the standard protocols are followed.

So in Wake Wood, we leave the creepy, weird residents aside, we are okay with the fact that dead people are reborn through a cruel and quite splashy procedure and we focus on the deadly repercussions of a resurrection gone wrong.

On the other hand, it seems that the performances are not enough to compliment the story, especially from the part of the two main characters. Eva Birthistle certainly portrays the traumatized mother sufficiently and Aidan Gillen is very convincing as the father, who’s trying to keep it together, but I always have a problem with characters that seem too untouched and apathetic when something weird and wacky comes up. A convenient flow for the storyline is one thing, but the film loses its sinister ambiance once the main characters seem to be taking everything loosely. It feels that Wake Wood could use some more drama when it comes to bringing people back from the other side and dealing with pure evil.

Little Ella Connolly deserves a big applause for her performance and I wonder whether she was completely aware of what she was doing in this movie, as her character was too much of an extravaganza for a typical 5-year-old to handle.

Overall, Wake Wood can offer serious moments of gore pleasing the eyes of the fans, however, it seems that such a story could have been put to better use. Nonetheless, little Alice and the entire town of pale-looking, unwelcoming residents are good enough to make you keep watching.

And to quote Joe E. Brown in Some Like it Hot: Well, nobody’s perfect. 5/10

One Response to “Wake Wood (2010) – Review”
  1. thycriticman says:

    Interesting look on it! I still plan to watch it…someday. The plot is very similar to Life After Beth..which is a funny coincidence considering that you left a comment on that one. However, your complaint will also ring true in that movie. Nothing is taken seriously…

    …but that is a horror comedy featuring John C.Reilly so eh, that should be expected. This one is pure horror from my understanding so that is sort of odd.


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