10 June 2018

LEFT FILMS PRESENTS: DOGGED. (2017) A FOLK HORROR FILM REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.




DOGGED. (2017) DIRECTED BY RICHARD ROWNTREE. STARRING SAM SAUNDERS, TOBY WYNNE-DAVIES, DEBRA LEIGH-TAYLOR, PHILIP RIDOUT, AIYSHA JEBALI, NICK STOPIEN, TONY PARKIN, NADIA LAMIN AND TONY MANDERS. 
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Acclaimed folk horror Dogged is lurking on DVD and Digital 9 July from Left Films!

'A living, breathing piece of cinematic frightfulness' - Dread Central
'Definitely one to watch' - UK Horror Scene 

'Fucking hippies...!'

'We islanders handle our own problems.'

'My son didn't rape and kill an innocent child!'

'My own daughter, debased by an unbeliever...!'

'Women have no place on this part of the island.'

'I know what you did to my little girl, you filthy animal...!'

'Megan was so young. She never got to experience... anything.'

Definition of 'DOGGED'- having or showing tenacity and grim persistence.'

I adore folk horror, and this one has clearly drawn on such folk horror classics as THE WICKER MAN and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and even Hammer Horror's THE WOMAN IN BLACK (the whole thing with the tides) to create a pretty decent movie.

At just under two hours, it's a tad long for what it is and it's not without its flaws but I still enjoyed it. I have any amount of time to spare for folk horror or what passes for a good stab at it, if you'll excuse the pun.

DOGGED is set on an island, which is a good start. There's great scope for weirdness and depravity amongst island folks who, cut off from the mainland and its morals, think that they're a law unto themselves and everyone else who's not an islander born-and-bred can go and f**k themselves, lol.

The island is called Farthing Island (Summerisle was already taken) and a young hipster-ish University student called Sam is coming home to the island for a funeral. A young local girl called Megan Lancaster has fallen off a cliff while apparently going to the aid of an injured deer. Aw, that's sad. For the girl and the deer. 'We thank you for the life of young Megan Lancaster, who brought such joy to us all.'

Sam and his brusque father do not get on at all, though Sam's mother clearly adores her big handsome college student son. Sam prefers to spend his time back home with the local pastor's daughter, Rachel. They obviously have had a relationship previously and, now that Sam's back on the island for a bit, they lose no time in making the-beast-with-two-backs in, um, Sam's Dad's car. Eeuw, gross.

Sam's Pops clearly thinks so too. 'I'm not an idiot, Sam. I can smell the sex off you.' And then: 'No arguments, Sam. While you're back under my roof, you'll do as I say, understand?' No wonder Sam prefers the company of Rachel, whose weird older brother Daniel has a nasty habit of having sex with his sister with the full knowledge of their parents.

As their cold and horrible Pastor father says: 'Daniel is Daniel. I'm afraid we'll never
change him. Some children are just born inherently challenging.' That's all very well, and exactly what we'd expect from the pervy inhabitants of a depraved, incestuous island, but the hypocritical Pastor, Father David, then lambasts poor Sam for having deflowered his precious daughter and warns him in no uncertain terms to stay away from Rachel.

'You may have given up on this island as your home but she's still one of us. You'll never change that,' he threatens Sam ominously. (Is there any other way to threaten someone, lol?) Sam's own Dad has forbidden Sam the use of his car as a shag-wagon and told his embarrassed offspring that his bike's in the shed if he needs transport...! Good one, Pops.

Anyway, one day Little Red Riding Hood (Sam) is sent across the marvellously creepy fairytale-style woods to visit his Granny. But Granny's nowhere to be seen and the forest is full of shadowy male figures wearing animal heads like the villagers in THE WICKER MAN.

Doggy heads, foxy heads, badger heads. Added to Granny's extensive collection of stone woodland animals, there's a distinctly folksy feel to the growing horror. Has the Big Bad Wolf gotten his claws into Sam's sweet old Granny...? Oh dear.

Terrible things are happening to the little band of hippies on the island (there's two of 'em, just two hippies!) and a seemingly crazy old man, or a 'vagrant' as the nasty Pastor David puts it to Sam, is roaming around the island wrapped in a blanket and telling everyone who'll listen that there's 'bad magic' afoot on the island. I'd well believe it.

Meanwhile, the men on the island are all getting together and behaving oddly, except for the local doctor who's decided, for reasons obviously tied up with the island's terrible secrets, to shuffle off his mortal coil. What guilt is he carrying on his blackened soul? Poor little Rachel, Sam's f**k-buddy, has gone missing and Sam is scared out of his wits. Mind you, it doesn't take much to scare Sam.

And he's so ridiculously wimpy that even the hippy woman can boss him around and tell him what do, while scaring the shite out of him with crazy tales of a cult of evil villagers who do unspeakable things to people under cover of darkness. Or daylight, lol. After all, it's their island. They can keep to whatever schedule suits them...!

Anyway, does Sam have the balls- and the brains- to foil the islanders' evil plans for poor Rachel, whatever it is, and to ferret out the grisly secrets behind Megan Lancaster's death? I doubt it, somehow. 

Sam may have college brains but I'm not sure he has the common sense and cop-on to cope with the sinister goings-on and shenanigans of an evil island and all that that entails. We'll see anyway, but don't hold your breath...

Dogged is on DVD and Digital on 9 July from Left Films

Pre-order on Amazonhttps://amzn.to/2ICSw0U

#Dogged @LeftFilms


AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

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:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com










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