Valleys of death
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.