2009 Running time: 87 Certificate: 15 Rating: 1

Synopsis

A teenage runaway struggles to convince those around her – parents, friends, psychiatrists and priests - that's she's been hexed by a jealous rival. Impressive newcomer Rebecca Pitkin plays the flighty youngster whose cavalier treatment of her boyfriend leads to diabolic dabbling and mental breakdown in this Leeds-set occult drama. Apparently based on a true story.

Director

  • Owen Carey Jones

Cast

  • Rebecca Pitkin

  • Pietro Herrera

  • Amber Hodgkiss

  • Julia Curle

Review

Something vile and malevolent is holding sway in the suburbs of a northern industrial city. And it's not Leeds Utd.

Writer-director Owen Carey Jones' cautionary tale of the dangers of dabbling with occult is apparently based on a true story. So he seems to have shot a home movie about it.

Jenny (Pitkin) is a troubled youngster who has pinballed between her divorced parents (one potential stepdad had her sleeping in the cellar) to finally end up in a Leeds high-rise shacked up with her boyfriend Rick (Hererra).

However, she soon finds herself attracted to suave work colleague Ed (Smith), a relaxed bon viveur who happens to have a little room set up for black magic ritual in his loft. We are in Leeds, remember.

Anyway, the jilted Rick is persuaded by the new rival for his affections - fully paid-up witch Kate (O'Donoughue) - to cast a spell which will, erm, make her fall in love with him all over again.

This is not what green-eyed harpies are supposed to do - particularly ones who drop their clobber illuminated by IKEA garden torches while chanting in the woods.


Anyway, the upshot is that Jenny's bedroom goes all dark, her pictures shake and a shelf-full of toiletries levitates. The Exorcist it ain't...but we are working to a Yorkshire budget.

In the morning, she can't shake off the feeling of demonic possession....but no-one can help her, least of all a couple of dishrag-wet priests who tut at her pleas for an exorcism.

A lot of effort has obviously gone into this but Carey Jones - on his third attempt at a feature - should surely be better able to construct a movie that cornily pans out like some sort of Christian public information film.

With the exception of Pitkin, who's clearly been given nothing to work with, the acting is like a Crossroads masterclass poorly served with a script that insists everybody treats demonic possession like it was a dose of the sniffles.