REVIEW: Haunting coastal scenes of Scotland take centre stage in Horror Channel’s Retreat
When Kate (Thandie Newton) and Martin (Cillian Murphy) leave London to go to the remote Blackholm Island, off the west coast of Scotland, the couple hope the getaway will provide them with the opportunity to recover from a personal tragedy and get their dying marriage back on track.
However, the island brings them more troubles than they could have imagined. Cut off from the outside world, any wishes of recovery are dashed when an injured soldier (Jamie Bell) is washed ashore with news of an airborne killer virus that’s sweeping over the entire world. But the question is: Can he be trusted?
Even from Retreat‘s opening credits, featuring shots of cloud-obstructed sea views accompanied by a magnificent orchestral piece, I could tell I was in for a skilfully shot and visually appealing horror-thriller movie. Fans of the genre will certainly enjoy the thoughtful and imaginative way Carl Tibbetts directs what could be a pretty predictable “home invasion” thriller.
The location takes centre stage and, if nothing else, the film is worth watching for the stunning yet equally haunting coastal scenes alone. More importantly, however, the isolated Scottish island adds to the story’s claustrophobic and confined feel which creates a real tension when news of the virus arrives.
Excellent performances from Newton and Murphy elevate the story further, both of whom capture the silent tensions of a failing marriage perfectly. Billy Elliot‘s Bell is also excellent as the eerie and compelling intruder and together the three leads create the ideal dynamic.
And for those of you who are more concerned about getting your scare fix for the evening, do not worry. Tibbetts is careful to keep the viewer guessing and plays with tension to offer up some truly thrilling moments.
UK TV premier of Retreat (2011) airs Saturday, June 24 at 9pm on Horror Channel.