The Ferryman Movie Review

Written by Charlotte Stear

Written and Directed by Elliott Maguire
2018, 76 minutes, Not Rated
VOD release on 13th April, 2018

Nicola Holt as Mara
Garth Maunders as Roland
Shobi Rae Mclean as Julia
Azz Mohammed as Detective
Pam Ashton as Nurse
Frank Matthews as Therapist
Philip Scott-Shurety as Ferryman

the ferryman poster


Out in time for Friday the 13th this week is a new psychological horror movie shot in Manchester, The Ferryman.

Not long after her mother’s death, Mara (Nicola Holt) is finding life without her too difficult to bear and attempts suicide. When she wakes up in hospital, Mara finds her estranged father (Garth Maunders) is back to help her recover but her recovery is going to take a lot more than family care and therapy sessions. Since the suicide attempt, Mara is haunted by an entity that wants to destroy her, and until it can get to her it will destroy everyone around her.

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The Ferryman is written, directed and edited by Elliot Maguire (not to mention he also does the music!). This is his first movie, a passion project that has obviously been made by a horror fan. Maguire has an understanding of pace and his reveals allow for a steady horror film that doesn’t give away too much too soon. There’s a slow build throughout the film, the first 10 minutes could actually be a silent movie, creating a creepy atmosphere of intrigue.

This entire film is shot using an iPhone 7, a fact I had to go back and double check because even though a few of the shots do look out of focus, it’s not something you would pick up on. This unique way of filming has given Maguire the opportunity to achieve some really interesting camera angles, and gives us a new level of intimacy with his characters. However, the sound does not match up to the visuals and there’s a stark difference between the normal dialogue scenes and action. Extreme quiet to extreme noise isn’t the best when you’re not sure where you’ve put your remote...

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Along with the way of filming, using the backdrop of Salford and various places around Manchester was another smart way to make this film stand out, it gives it a definite sense of identity and makes for some great exterior shots.

The entity that follows Mara after her suicide attempt appears in the form of the Greek ferryman, Charon. Now, if you’re wondering why this Greek ferryman is stalking a young girl in Manchester, I can’t answer that. But, does this really matter? Possibly. But if we start pulling at those threads, though, who knows where we may end up, and what’s fun about that? Charon is a manifestation of Mara’s self doubt and self loathing, although it does get tricky when the people around her start dying (in some increasingly gross ways), does Charon exist or is Mara doing more than she thinks? It seems a bit ridiculous in places but the intrigue hooks you in and the characters save it from being too much to endure.

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The two leads give fantastic performances, however the casting does feel slightly off as Roland looks more like Mara’s brother than her father, but getting past that, the duo work well together. The dialogue at times is a little clunky and cliched but the performances outshine that and bring it all to life.

The Ferryman is rough around the edges but at its heart beats a project that is made with a love of the genre. Filmmaker Elliott Maguire has used a refreshing way to create his first movie and it is a great achievement that will no doubt open doors for him in the future.

The Ferryman is available from Vimeo on Demand by clicking the cover below.


Movie: 2.5 Star Rating Cover

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