The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw is embedded in folklore horror, with a fractured community already outsiders from the common world striving to live the lives of good Protestants and reap the land and prosper.
The seed of doubt is always prominent however and amplified when the crops begin to fail during harvest season, all except the land at the Earnshaw family.
As the villagers predicament grows increasingly dire, panic soon sets in and escalates to a pandemic state, something that director Thomas Robert Lee didn’t initially intend to resonate so deeply with his audience but certainly reflects the mindset of the modern world at large.
The kernel of the town’s plight stems from a particular eclipse that occurred 17 years ago and coincides with the birth of the titular Audrey Earnshaw. What is it about this strange child? Who was the father? And what pact did her mother Agatha make in order to flourish so greatly in her crop production?
The ingredients are all there to provoke the fear and trepidation in the heart of the most stolic of people with the practice of occultism in the soul. When the wind blows foul, it destroys the mentality of those that come into contact with the Earnshaw’s execution.
All of which can only be produced with the masterful direction of Robert Lee and the strength of the performances from its cast.
Notable standouts for me came from the matriarchal Agatha Earnshaw played by Catherine Walker (A Dark Song) who has clearly made some dubious choices but is slowly becoming engulfed by her equally enigmatic daughter, Audrey (newcomer Jessica Reynolds).
Likewise some of the village folk draw the audience’s gaze through the deeply troubled Bridget Dwyer (Hannah Emily Anderson, who is amazing in her portrayal and fluctuations of emotions that her character has to traverse throughout the films’ narrative); the steadfast husband Colm Dwyer (Jared Abrahamson) whose faith is probably tested the most; and the instantly recognisable Seamus Dwyer (Sean McGinley) as the patriarchal member of the community and never fails to deliver a solid performance.
It’s a slow burn which allows the fear to sink deep into the recesses of the villagers minds.
The strong performances definitely resonate and help to deliver Thomas Robert Lee’s vision and the cinematography captures the beautiful landscape on scene.
If there is a flaw to be found is that the focus is so intense that it can become overwhelming with the way it’s directed.
At times the pace is painfully slow and the emotions are slowly pulled through the mangler that every ounce and weight of the characters’ turmoil is felt to the detriment of the audience who have to endure this burden until the films’ conclusion.
The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw is currently screening in selected theatres and will be released on VOD and Digital on Oct 6th 2020.
- Saul Muerte