Back in 2011, writer Simon Barrett along with his collaborative partner, director Adam Wingard, carved a remarkable entry into the mumblegore scene at the pique of its movement with You’re Next.
It’s a partnership that served them well and has established a following of fans hanging out for their next venture, (myself included), which at this stage looks likely to be the remake of I Saw The Devil.
So imagine my delight when surfing through Netflix when I cam across this little-known movie Temple, written by Barrett. The fact that it had fallen by the wayside should speak volumes about the movie, but I’ve never let that deter me from a movie experience and with Barrett’s name attached, I was eager to go on that journey.
In many ways, Temple tries to tap into some J-Horror territory shrouded in mystery, horror, and dark spirits that made the Ring a household movie franchise in the genre.
Before the story unfolds we are introduced to a bandaged, wounded man who is in hospital and on aided with a life support system. He is wheeled in from of a professor and an interpreter as they try to pry some information on the whereabouts of a missing woman.
The man begins to recount his tale of backpacking trio of Kate, her boyfriend James, and her friend Chris in a thwarted love triangle, as they seek out a mysterious Japanese temple.
Most of the screenplay centres on the threesome as some background ekes out into the narrative and lures the viewer in enough to know that all is not well as jealousy and sexual tension rises. The closer they get to the temple, the more unhinged they become. The trek takes them into the heart of the wooded area by a boy from the village, with warnings of not to stay out after dark, (which of course they do when Chris is injured). By this stage, there are elements of Blair Witch coming in, another project that Barrett had worked on for the remake and may have been buried in his subconscious at the time of writing this screenplay.
Night does indeed fall and all hell breaks loose including a fox-human hybrid guardian and some creatures that live beneath the temple’s foundations.
The film’s conclusion leaves you wondering what exactly happened, whom do we believe, and if indeed any of it was real.
The venture is across rugged terrain that is all too familiar but unstable, and leaves you wondering whether the journey was worth it. If you’re feeling inclined to explore some of Barrett’s work, then take the trek, but be warned, it may not meet your expectations.
- Saul Muerte