Al­ti­tude, £7.99 (DVD)

Fortean Times - - Reviews / Films -

At the heart of this film is an en­tic­ing con­cept: fe­male war­riors bent on vengeance must team up with a band of sav­age Vik­ings to de­feat a horde of tree demons be­sieg­ing the monastery where they are holed up. What self-re­spect­ing hor­ror fan couldn’t get on board with a film like that? And what has ended up on the screen is pretty faith­ful to the con­cept: ev­ery­thing the film prom­ises, it de­liv­ers. There is wallto-wall ac­tion, co­pi­ous blood-let­ting and bone-crunch­ing vi­o­lence. Un­for­tu­nately, there are sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems with vir­tu­ally every other as­pect of the pro­duc­tion. Chief among these is the script: I’m pretty sure the English ver­nac­u­lar of the early Mid­dle Ages did not in­clude such bon mots as “spazz out” or “for fuck’s sake”. I un­der­stand that the film is not striv­ing for his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy but this sort of anachro­nis­tic di­a­logue ren­ders the whole thing ris­i­ble, if it wasn’t al­ready. On top of that, the English-speak­ing char­ac­ters sport a wide range of re­gional ac­cents, the ma­jor­ity of them sound­ing like Cock­ney wide­boys: the sort of thing that caused Guy Ritchie’s re­cent film about King Arthur to be met with hoots of de­ri­sion. The act­ing veers from de­cent to in­ept and the makeup ef­fects are sim­i­larly vari­able: the head tree de­mon is a gen­uinely fear­some beastie, but his min­ions look like ex­tras with sacks over their heads. I don’t like rag­ging on low­bud­get films, es­pe­cially if there are at least one or two good el­e­ments in them, but a com­bi­na­tion of poor han­dling and bud­getary lim­i­ta­tions have scup­pered this one. Daniel King

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