Horror Dna Logo Header 03
Horror Dna Logo Header Right

Latest Articles

Shine Your Light On Me

on 18 September 2019 in Books Read More

Batman / Superman #1

on 18 September 2019 in Comics Read More

Absolute Carnage #2

on 17 September 2019 in Comics Read More

No One's Home

on 15 September 2019 in Books Read More

Scars of Dracula

on 14 September 2019 in Movies Read More

Wilderness Movie Review

Written by Rosie Fletcher

Film released by Momentum Pictures (UK)

W1

Directed by Michael J Bassett
Written by Dario Poloni
2006, Rated 18, 110 minutes

Starring:
Sean Pertwee as Jed
Alex Reid as Louise
Toby Kebbell as Callum
Stephen Wight as Steve
Adam Deacon as Blue
Richie Campell as Jethro

W2 W3

Before I saw Wilderness I’d read one short review of it and nothing more. One of the things I liked, is that coming to it virtually cold, by half way through the film I still had absolutely no idea who or what the “baddie” was going to be. That’s not something I get to experience very often and it kept me on the edge of my seat. For the sake of this review, and so as not to deny you the fun I had, I’ve chosen my images carefully, mainly from the first half of the film and I’ll be discussing the later stages of the plot as little as possible.

W4 W5

Michael J Bassett’s film concerns a group of “special unit youth prisoners” who are taken to a seemingly deserted island to do a bit of bonding and to learn a few life lessons. It’s an all-male group of nasty, difficult young men, and it’s not without the character standards: the bully, the henchman, the coward and the dangerous outsider. These characters are familiar from prison dramas, borstal nightmares and school flicks over the years, from Cool Hand Luke to Harry Potter.

W6 W7

Despite this, Bassett manages to get some good performances from the group of mostly-unknowns and the dialogue manages to stay largely contemporary and fresh, avoiding going too far down the well-beaten track of bad boy clichés. Toby Kebbell as our hero, Callum, gives a strong and convincing performance and is easy to cheer for, and Stephen Wright is extremely convincing as the cruel little sadist, Steve, adding a lot to the overall tension of the film.


W8 W9

There are some imaginative and disgusting kills in Wilderness and a lot of grim gore and, for me, because of a certain (not uncommon) fear I have, I found a number of scenes in this film really nightmarish to watch. There are a couple of genius uses of the setting and surroundings, too — things appearing from the undergrowth that had been there the entire scene. There’s a frequent sense things aren’t quite what you expected them to be which keeps you on your toes and makes for an enjoyable watch. The film looks good — it’s full of beautiful shots of scenery from fields, to woods, to cliffs and the ocean, which work well against the early shots of the boys’ confinement. The over use of fade-to-black shots were an annoying distraction, though, and made it feel a bit like a TV movie, with deliberate pauses for adverts.

Listing some of the boys’ offences without saying who did what (we know we have a murderer, armed robbers and a serial sex offender within the group, for example) was a nice touch, and adds to this sense of not having all the info — not being able to see the full picture.

Unfortunately, when the baddie finally does reveal itself it just isn’t very scary — it’s a bit disappointing and it feels a bit out of place with the rest of the film. It also raises a fair few questions that aren’t ever answered, which always feels unsatisfying.

W10 W12

Watching Wilderness I was reminded of a number of other films. Battle Royale, was one — the last scene in Wilderness was surely a nod in that direction. The relationships and the cruelty shown between the boys reminded me first of the brilliant, but disturbing, borstal drama Scum and then of the ubiquitous boys-on-an-island story The Lord of the Flies. But most of all, Wilderness is always going to be compared to Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers — because it’s set in a remote British woodland, because Sean Pertwee is in it (and the casting of Alex Reid from Marshall’s The Descent re-enforces the connection), because the title page of the website shows a close up of a massive set of animal fangs and, of course, because it’s British. Unfortunately, it’s not as good as Dog Soldiers. It’s not as funny, it’s not as scary and the characters and dialogue aren’t as memorable. However, Wilderness does a good line in gore and includes some imaginative kills. The boys carry the film and keep you guessing, and also caring, until the last. It’s more interesting and thoughtful than a lot of horror movies you’ll see. It’s a solid rental for an evening in, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite have the finesse to make it something you’ll want to watch over and over again.

W11 W13

Film: ***/*****

This was a screener so picture, sound and extras will not be reviewed.

Want to comment on this review? Head over to the Horror DNA Review Forum.

Movies

Scars of Dracula

14 September 2019 Read more

Hoax

12 September 2019 Read more

Let My Puppets Come

09 September 2019 Read more

Decoder

08 September 2019 Read more

Hell Comes to Frogtown

05 September 2019 Read more

It Chapter Two

04 September 2019 Read more

Comics

Batman / Superman #1

18 September 2019 Read more

Absolute Carnage #2

17 September 2019 Read more

Resonant #2

13 September 2019 Read more

Manor Black #2

13 September 2019 Read more

Mountainhead #1

12 September 2019 Read more

Faithless #5

12 September 2019 Read more

Books

Shine Your Light On Me

18 September 2019 Read more

No One's Home

15 September 2019 Read more

The Pale White

13 September 2019 Read more

Podcast

Funny Book Splatter 01

Funny Book Splatter 099: Timothy Bach

on 14 September 2019 in Podcast

James speaks with the writer of The Family Graves.

Read More
141
Funny Book Splatter 01

Funny Book Splatter 098: Michael Moreci

on 03 September 2019 in Podcast

James speaks with one of the writers of The Plot from Vault Comics.

Read More
116
Funny Book Splatter 01

Funny Book Splatter 097: Jordan Thomas

on 22 August 2019 in Podcast

James speaks with the writer of Frank at Home on the Farm, currently on Kickstarter.

Read More
242
Funny Book Splatter 01

Funny Book Splatter 096: Mark London

on 01 August 2019 in Podcast

James speaks with the CEO / CCO of Mad Cave Studios as well as the writer of Wolvenheart.

Read More
225

Contests

Antichrist Vinyl Large

Win an Antichrist Vinyl Soundtrack

on 06 September 2019 in Contests

Win a copy of the Von Trier Soundtrack from Cold Spring

Read More
685
It Chapter Two Poster Large

Win an IT Chapter Two Merchandise Bundle

on 29 August 2019 in Contests

Win an awesome merchandise pack for the release of the new novie.

Read More
2717
The Curse Of La Llorona Blu Ray Large

Win The Curse of La Llorona on Blu-ray

on 29 August 2019 in Contests

Win the spooky new movie from producer James Wan.

Read More
1610

Music & TV

Into The Dark S01 E12 Pure Large

Into the Dark- Season 1, Episode 12: Pure

on 08 September 2019 in TV Shows

Check that manly ego at the door and prepare to have some feathers ruffled. You’re going to be uncomfortable.

Read More
364
Into The Dark S01 E11 School Spirit Large

Into the Dark - Season 1, Episode 11: "School Spirit"

on 30 July 2019 in TV Shows

High school is a real bitch, but this is just ridiculous…

Read More
511
Into The Dark S01 E10 Culture Shock Large

Into the Dark - Season 1, Episode 10: "Culture Shock"

on 05 July 2019 in TV Shows

The American Dream. Redefined. Are you ready for it?

Read More
550
The Crow Ost Large

The Crow: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

on 19 May 2019 in Music

Twenty-five years later, what once worked as a cult movie soundtrack now serves as a document of ‘90s alt-rock culture.

Read More
522
Into The Dark S01 E08 All That We Destroy Large

Into the Dark - Season 1, Episode 8: "All That We Destroy"

on 09 May 2019 in TV Shows

Sometimes mother doesn't really know best.

Read More
1052
Folklore S01 Large

Folklore - Season 1, Episode 6: "Mongdal"

on 12 April 2019 in TV Shows

Folklore unfortunately goes out with a whimper.

Read More
637
­

Join Us!

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...