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IN THE DARK HALF

Director: ALASTAIR SIDDONS

85 minutes, U.K., 2012, Colour, D-Cinema


EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI

Made on a micro-budget, Alastair Siddons’ debut feature is a serious and genuinely disturbing psychological horror that also works as a sensitive study of overwhelming grief and the claustrophobia of small-town life. Fifteen-year-old Marie (Jessica Barden) lives next door to Filthy (Tony Curran) and his six-year-old son, Shaun.

One night, while Marie babysits Shaun, the boy suddenly dies. As the prosaic formalities of post-mortem and funeral take place, Filthy is distraught, looking for someone to blame, and Marie begins to crumble under the weight of her guilt, believing that Shaun is still present, haunting her.

Strong performances and a consistently surprising script help make for a film that, while retaining a chilling edge throughout, is also utterly absorbing in its refreshingly frank approach to its subject matter. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)

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