Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Prime Time: The Ferryman (2018)

The Ferryman is one of those little movies that I wanted to like more than I did. It's obviously not able to compete with other films that have bigger budgets (a bigger budget, in this instance, being anything over about £100) but that doesn't deter writer-director Elliott Maguire.

Nicola Holt plays Mara, a young woman who wakes up in hospital after an attempted suicide. She is embarrassed and angry, especially when she is then greeted by her father (Garth Maunders), a man who has never been in her life before now. Trying to move on with her life, Mara starts to hear and see a figure who tells her that others will pay for her living, and what that means becomes clear as people around her start to die.

Look, I have still never made my own movie. I'm sure it's an achievement just to get something completed and out there to an audience. That being said, The Ferryman comes in at the very minimal end of that scale of what could be considered a feature film. Shot on an iPhone, it's a murky mess in many scenes, not helped by some inconsistent sound design that doesn't always stay sharp enough during standard conversations but usually improves in moments that are focused on horror.

Holt and Maunders both try hard in their roles, although the seemingly small age gap between them makes it very difficult to believe that they are daughter and father, and they certainly stand out as being better than most of the other people onscreen (Azz Mohammed being the worst of a bad bunch, playing a detective as if he was being fed his lines just seconds before reciting them).

On the plus side, the runtime is relatively short and sweet (about 75 minutes) and Maguire has tried to tackle some interesting ideas. It's also to his credit that he didn't make this yet another found footage movie to add to the ever-growing pile. Sadly, the interesting ideas are buried under a lot of dull visuals and a weak script.

Any horror fans will be able to see how things are going to pan out after the first few scenes, which makes the rest of the film little more than a waiting game until you get to the predictable finale, sadly. With some more resources, and a better script, Maguire might be able to come up with a follow up to his debut feature that will better showcase his talents, but he's sold himself short here.

Having said all that, IF you have nothing better to do for 75 minutes and you're struggling to find a horror film that you haven't already seen then there are worse films to give support to. It's pretty bad, yes, but it's admirable that Maguire didn't take any easy options, and at least tried to do something a bit different.


The Ferryman is available on Amazon Prime now.

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