FrightFest 2011 ‘The Holding’

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The Holding

Directed by Susan Jacobson

Starring Georgia Groome, David Bradley and Vincent Regan

UK 2011

The first of the extensive line-up of British films this year at FRIGHTFEST came in the form of the unappetising The Holding – a grimy thriller set on a farm in the English countryside that sees a lone mother and her two daughters befriended by a mysterious stranger who turns up claiming to be a friend of her dead husband, his actual motives and history proving far more sinister than they could imagine.

It’s safe to say that I wasn’t looking forward to this film due to it’s bland setting, unimaginative set-up, and, to be honest; English background. I expected it to be a poorly made, boring, muddy affair with little to no panache or excitement. I was pleasantly surprised.

I would hardly go out of my way to see it again but all things considered this was a well-structured and entertaining movie that looked great and managed to wring some life from a tired narrative.

Vincent Regan impresses as the stranger with a dark past – balancing a genuinely believable softness with sudden cracks of imposing viciousness. Kierston Wareing is functional and strong enough to play the determined and capable mother, though perhaps she’s a little too Playboyish in her looks. But it’s first time director Susan Jacobson who steals the show, utilizing her relatively small environments well and injecting plenty of style and beauty into the film where tediously grey visuals would have been accepted.

She’s played it somewhat safe with this un-ambitious debut, but could be worth keeping an eye on for future, more adventurous projects.

Over-all this is a fine English effort and while it’s hardly the sort of movie I’d suggest people sought out – it’s one you won’t regret if you happened upon it.

– Al White. 

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