1h 32min, 2020, 16+
Director: Phil Sheerin
Writer: David Turpin
Stars: Emma Mackey (Sex Education), Charlie Murphy (Peaky Blinders, Happy Valley and Love/Hate), Mark McKenna (Sing Street, Overlord and Wayne), Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones, Genius and The Fall), Anson Boon
An almost classic gothic story set in rain-sodden Sligo, Ireland, with a stellar cast capable of having a viewer at the edge of a seat.
When Holly’s dark secret is accidentally uncovered by her new emotionally unstable neighbor Tom, they are pulled into a violent confrontation with her father, who will do anything to keep the secret hidden.
The film is somewhat similar to the brilliant ‘The Dig’ with Moe Dunford from the festival programme in 2019, as it is also set in rural Ireland and fleshes out the secrets and the lies that surround a local family who tried to bury them in the mushy ground that is just waiting for the right moment to bring them back to light.
Might be one of the strongest techniques of filming in the dark you will see on screen, with some images and scenes that are bound to linger in the mind: the light&shadow play closer to the end and the use of almost black and white for the scenes underwater. A great compliment to the work of DoP Ruairí O’Brien, who has a long track in TV and recently worked on an enjoyable Sea Fever, bringing in the tightness of space from it.
With this darkness, the big house and family secrets ‘The Winter Lake’ has a classic gothic feel to it.
Another strong point of the film is undoubtedly pleasant and on-point casting with Anson Boon, Charlie Murphy, Michael McElhatton, Emma Mackey, and Mark McKenna.
“a slow-burn, character-driven approach, creating a film that is more cerebral than visceral.” Screen Ireland