The latest project from the Rutley Brothers, director Martin and writer Andrew, Amnesiac is exactly what it says it is - "a gripping blend of supernatural horror and psychological drama."
The film is most gripping with its psychological horror, brought powerfully and heartbreakingly to life by Gemma Deerfield as Kate, a young woman whose extraordinary grief over having lost her baby has led her into a journey of obsession involving the occult. Deerfield does a tremendous job of making her grief feel genuine, a state of being that makes everything that follows that much more harrowing and disturbing.
Much of the action centers around one night in particular, a night when Kate's sister Bec (Edwina Lea) is joined by her boyfriend in visiting Kate and trying to caution her about her newly discovered obsession. Lea is compelling as a young woman torn between her concerns about messing with the supernatural and her intense desire to support her sister. The three consult a Ouija board and make contact with a mysterious spirit who makes an offer that Kate simply can't refuse - he will help Kate find her dead son.
Nothing is quite as it seems, and everything soon takes a menacing tone when the seance participants discover the underlying motives of this mysterious stranger at their door and the dark truth about Amnesiac.
Already an official selection of the Pennine Film Festival, this Hungercult Films production manages to be both thought-provoking and anxiety-inducing, likely a result of the believable yet thrilling story penned by Andrew Rutley that never lets go of the underlying heartbreak that lays unsettled beneath everything that happens.
The film feels a tad verbose at times, a minor quibble really, as there were times when I really wanted to feel the silence and to simply watch Deerfield's face as her own personal experience was unfolding. The words were, only for brief moments, a distraction from the intensity that was in her eyes. For the most part, however, the story is gripping and Martin Rutley's direction is well-paced and disciplined in the way it builds the suspense.
Kudos must be given, as well, for the film's excellent camera work and a production design that is both haunting yet naturalistic in presentation. It creates a sense, I suppose, of the everyday horrors that can exist in our own little worlds and the vastness of our minds.
Amnesiac is early into its festival run, and should have no problem finding a place on the indie and horror film fest circuit. Films like this one are rare because they treat the story as vital as they do the thrills and chills. Said to be inspired by England's oldest ghost story, Amnesiac will haunt your senses and your mind.