Amidst the myriad of shallow, jumpy horrors which has dominated recent horror releases ‘The Broken’ offers a nostalgic slice of mature horror which effectively blends together an intriguing story with breathe-holding tension.
The plot follows the unfortunate, Gina McVey, a radiologist in a London hospital who one day is convinced she sees her double. Curious, she follows the double home and sees a picture of the lady with her own father. Distressed and confused at what she has seen she becomes distracted and whilst driving home she crashes her Jeep. Upon regaining consciousness in hospital she soon realises that her life has become distorted, with not everybody being what they appear.
‘The Broken’ is a straight down the line mystery. It’s difficult to explain further without giving the game away, but rest assured the movie moves at such a pace that the story remains interesting right up to the final scene. The movie is both written and directed by Sean Ellis and I got to be honest, in the hands of someone less capable this movie could have become a right mess. Thankfully, Ellis steps up to the mark proving his talent, articulating exactly what means to. The story is tight, with odd clues and twists which constantly keep you guessing. This is common within all mysteries however most impressive is, that despite the films ambitious nature, it maintains continuity throughout.
A further testament to the meticulous detail of film is the consistence of atmosphere and scares. The atmosphere is thick and very tense. Care has clearly been taken to hold the feel of the movie, even the story telling sequences of the movie are cleverly done in terms of lighting and camera work to ensure that even when nothing particularly scary is happening, things just never seem quite right. Subtle little things like the main character’s blood shot mangled eye or ominous shadows help to keep the viewer on edge.
This sort of tension provides an excellent foundation for some of the films most effective scare sequences. Like any good chiller you get sucked in and you can literally feel the tension tightening in your stomach when something rather grim is coming. As with most areas in the film, the scares are more subtle than blatant, with the jumpy scenes kept to a minimum; rest assured its effect is just as poignant. As with the plot I don’t want to ruin any surprises, but expect some scary shit involving mirrors, shadows and some creepy character appearances which wouldn’t seem out of place in some of the increasingly popular Asian chillers.
Also worthy of mention is the violence in the movie. Whilst the film itself only has been awarded a 15 certificate there are some pretty grim scenes, nothing too hardcore, but they pack a punch. It’s obvious here too that Ellis has done his homework as some little details within some of these scenes pay homage to some old school favourites.
85 minutes has never passed as quickly, literally from start to finish I was hooked. Ellis has created a very stylish and thought through chiller. The story is solid, and the attention to detail really pays off. Sadly, as the film relies heavily on atmosphere and the scares having a more mature subtly, I’m sure the film will be lost on some, but for me, it really hit the spot. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Ellis’ future releases.