Val­leys of death

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 8 April 15 | 89 min­utes

Di­rec­tor Gareth Bryn

Cast Annes Elwy, Dy­fan Dwyfor,

Mark Lewis Jones

Ghost sto­ries don’t get much more slow- burn­ing than this Welsh- lan­guage chiller. When Sara ( Annes Elwy) and Iwan ( Dy­fan Dwyfor) crash their car into a river in a re­mote part of Wales, they’re saved by the reclusive Stan­ley ( Mark Lewis Jones), who brings them back to his farm­house. You’d ex­pect the haunt­ing to start there, but it doesn’t.

Or at least, not the su­per­nat­u­ral kind. Sara, Iwan and Stan­ley all have their own per­sonal ghosts to con­tend with, and it’s the way they in­ter­act, their se­crets brush­ing up against one an­other, that creates an at­mos­phere of creep­ing dread. The ac­tual ghost, when it fi­nally turns up, is al­most a re­lief – it breaks up the in­ten­sity of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the three leads.

Even then, though, the de­lib­er­ate pac­ing might have tipped over into out­right bore­dom if it weren’t for the stun­ning vi­su­als. The Welsh coun­try­side looks gor­geous, even when it’s tip­ping down with rain, and that beauty also lends oth­er­wise in­con­se­quen­tial mo­ments an air of sig­nif­i­cance. There aren’t any real frights here, so thrillseek­ers should look else­where; this is char­ac­ter- driven sto­ry­telling of the kind best re­served for wet Sun­day af­ter­noons. Sarah Dobbs

Ed Tal­fan wrote the script in English, then worked with Welsh nov­el­ist Caryl Lewis to adapt it.

The pop­corn storm just wouldn’t ease.

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