12 April 2016



This is a fantastic horror film. The good news is that it's out on DVD on April 11th 2016 courtesy of the jolly nice peeps at ICON FILM DISTRIBUTION and FRIGHTFEST. The even better news, if anything could possibly be better, haha, is that there are several other FRIGHTFEST PRESENTS titles also coming to DVD this Spring. Yep, Spring has definitely Sprung...!

I'm hugely looking forward to watching and reviewing AFTERDEATH, THE SAND, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB and SOME KIND OF HATE as well. As soon as I do, you know I'll let you have the inside track and we'll have great craic, as we say here in Ireland, discussing the ins and outs of 'em. Now that we've dealt with the business end of things, haha, let's get down to gabbing about ESTRANGED, because I'm dying to tell you what I think about it...

Right, here's the thing. Our heroine is called January. Isn't that a gorgeous name for a girl? I'm totally robbing it for one of my erotic horror stories. January goes to Brazil with her boyfriend, Callum. They have a scooter accident which leaves January badly messed-up. Her legs are banjaxed (another Irish-ism!), though not permanently, and she's lost part of her memory.

The accident was kind of all her own fault though, I'm sorry to say. The way she was taking selfies and larking about on the back of that bike and distracting her fella from keeping his eyes on the road made my blood boil. I know that this is meant to be a horror film review and not a road safety lecture but seriously, people, drive carefully and save the selfies for your bathroom mirror duck-faces...!

Anyway, Callum takes a wheelchair-bound January back to her family in England. January's been away for six years, for reasons she can't remember anymore, and the reunion is fraught with tension. The family, who are not as welcoming as you might expect, live in a fabulous old isolated mansion deep in the heart of the countryside. They're an odd lot. Very odd.

There's a huge and rather terrifying bearded paterfamilias who clearly loathes the easygoing, weed-smoking, T-shirt-and-jeans-clad Callum on sight. There's a Mumsie who takes pills to blot out stuff she clearly doesn't want to remember. There's even a butler, an actual butler, despite the fact that the house is all rundown and the phone's been cut off. The siblings need a whole paragraph to themselves...

Katherine, January's sister, is played by Nora-Jane Noone, an attractive young actress whom I last saw moving in with THE MAGDALEN SISTERS in 2002. I'm sure she's done other stuff since then, though! Katherine dresses like a proper young lady in her plaid skirts and little-girl tights and sensible shoes. She doesn't have a job or any hobbies or interests (or boyfriends!) and just lives quietly at home like a good little girl. A good little girl from the Victorian era, maybe...!

Lawrence, hers and January's brother, is a sexually deviant pompous arse who wears cricket whites and dicky-bows and who resembles the comedian/writer David Walliams a bit in the way he talks. He likes a nice spot of ballroom-dancing with his old Mumsie of an evening while Daddy, who rules his family with an iron fist, looks on approvingly. Well, I suppose it takes all sorts...!

From the off, January doesn't feel comfortable with these people. She doesn't even remember them, for crying out loud. Gradually, she develops the strongest sense that they're not her family. But if they're not her family, who the dickens are they and why are they living in her family home? These questions take on a desperate urgency when the heretofore devoted Callum goes missing, leaving the only partially-abled January to the tender mercies of the Addams Family...

The answers to January's questions can only be found by opening a can of the grubbiest, nastiest, ickiest worms you've ever seen. I mean, these worms are seriously ugly. January might just live to regret ever even touching that gosh-darned worm-can. But, in the time-honoured tradition of all the best horror films, she's not only gonna touch it, she's gonna get her hands right in there and give those yucky worms a right good old man-handling. We'll stop with the worms analogy now because I feel a bit queasy, heehee.

The film contains distressing scenes of truly sick sexual violence and regular old physical violence (all against women) which serve to heighten the viewer's sense that January is in the gravest danger from this family of posh upper-class weirdo loners.

The back-story is a tad confusing and maybe even a little weak but the execution of the storyline is just brilliant. I was glued to the film from start to finish. It trots along at a nice brisk pace and the tension that's building up throughout the movie culminates in a shocking climax. Honestly, it's just the job for a good old horror-fest at home on a quiet night in.

A final word about the house. It's fantastic, a proper old English mansion that probably belongs to the Earl of Something or the Duke of Somewhere-Or-Other. I would so love to live there. All those winding staircases and ramshackle old storerooms and musty bedrooms filled with old-fashioned dolls and the acres of beautiful woodland surrounding the house. It's totally my idea of a dream home.

It's also the perfect place to commit a crime, incidentally. Didn't Sherlock Holmes say that once about the countryside? That almost anything criminal or murderous could be going on in those isolated homes and farmhouses and no-one would ever know? You know what, he almost might have been talking about ESTRANGED...


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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