Set in 19th-century rural Wales, this exquisitely eerie feature debut from English writer-director William McGregor follows the fates of a mother (Maxine Peake) and two daughters struggling to endure a series of calamities of increasingly mysterious origin.
Gwen (Eleanor Worthington-Cox) lives on a farm in the hills of Snowdonia with her mother, Elen (Peake) and little sister Mari. Like nearly all the local men, Gwen’s father is away at war. Elen, Gwen, and Mari must already maintain a punishing work schedule to keep the farm going, but they are plagued by one ominous occurrence after another, as well as by a town that begins to become suspicious of their behaviour.
McGregor infuses Gwen with spectral atmospherics and a captivating balance of disparate elements: the story feels drawn from some ancient myth, the encroaching manifestations of the industrial revolution supply historical context, and key moments show the influence of modern horror. Witnessing events as if through Gwen’s watchful, innocent eyes, we are never more than one step ahead of her — and always on the lookout for something sinister emerging from the edge of the frame.
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