“Refreshing to see a horror film with so much on its mind…”

The Rutley Brothers have been making ripples in the independent film scene a couple years ago with Where the Dogs Divide Her, a dark, esoteric journey into a scarred psyche. With their latest, Amnesiac, the duo continue on their path along the machinations of the troubled mind.

Known as “Wyke Wreake” (pronounced “Wick Reek” by its characters) in its UK homeland, Amnesiac is supposed to tell the tale of “England’s oldest ghost story.” But the film uses some very modern ways to do so until it reaches its unsettling conclusion.

Kate (played by Gemma Deerfield) has issues. Having recently lost her infant son and her mom to cancer, Kate’s mind has weighed heavy with tragedy. She reaches out to a Ouija board for some answers, with some assistance from her reluctant, doubting sister Bec (played by Edwina Lea) and Bec’s boyfriend Thom (played by Leon Florentine).

Directed by
Martin Rutley
Gemma Deerfield, Leon Florentine, Katya Greer
Release Date
TBA 2013
Grade: C-

The seance is situated in the stark setting of her dead baby’s room (which now has all the comfy ambiance of a Tool video) as the trio gather around the board trying to decipher the sliding piece’s clues. It is a room caked in grief: jaundiced newspaper clippings, mugshots, and occult markings, it’s far from the promise-filled room it perhaps once was. Even the crib is dusted with grime and most likely tarnished with tears.

Amnesic takes us to the “other side” of the board, introducing us to Alex (played by Jon Stoley), a once-ordinary man now ambling through his own purgatory. His strolls are frequently interrupted by visits to his own past, filled with with decaying bodies, walls decorated with long-dead infants and beings bound in straightjackets. It’s basically a place that would make Pinhead weep.
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Needless to say, Amnesiac is about as fun as a hearse running over a sack of kittens, but that does not mean it’s not without merit. The Rutley sibs (Martin directs brother Andrew’s script) impress in their respective roles. Andrew’s characters are haunted, but want to get to the root of their pain or the motives behind their heinous acts. Meanwhile, Martin transports us between these two worlds in frightening, but not overly flashy, fashion, and includes some truly unnerving sequences (a nightmarish kids’ show that flickers on a background TV wields one of the film’s most twisted scenes).

It’s sometimes hampered by its limited budget, but at other times, it leads to its overall grittiness. Personally, I could have done without the flickering, scrambled transitions between the two worlds it inhabits. But ultimately, it’s refreshing to see a horror film with so much on its mind, including exploring the very origin of the driving forces behind such horror. It’s not content with merely leaving a killer’s motives to the fact that he was burned by an angry mob or was left unattended to drown in a campground lake. It attempts to delve deeper into the mind of both its killer as well as the aftermath.

For that alone, Amnesiac deserves a peek, but you may want to erase this from memory soon after to allow a little light in.

Review by Rob Rector, Lead Entertainment Writer

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