This Day in Horror

13 October 2016

31 Days of Horror Day 13: Red Kingdom Rising 2012 - REVIEW


I have to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of fantasy horror. Fairies and Goblins and things of that nature just don't draw my attention. Not that I haven't seen some great fantasy horror. Peter Dukes' short A Goblin's Tale is one of the most recent ones I've watched and enjoyed. It takes a pretty well rounded team to create a successful fantasy horror film. The execution of this type of film has to be pretty much flawless (in my opinion) and I think that's what always turns me away. It's hard to find a group of filmmakers that are committed to seeing that the color, tone and pacing of the film stays consistent throughout.

Mary Ann (Emily Stride), a troubled young woman, has been tormented her whole life by dreams of a sinister figure called the Red King and his morbid fairytale kingdom. Following the death of her father, Mary Ann returns to her family home where she recalls the childhood stories of the Red King and Alice from 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' that her father once read to her. Haunting events and suppressed memories propel Mary Ann through the dark corridors of her parental home into the realms of her nightmares where she must finally confront the Red King and gain closure to her scarred past.

As is the case with most Indie films, the cast here is relatively unknown. That's sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing. In this case I'd say it was a great thing. Director Navin Dev managed to assemble a cast of unknowns that most assuredly will become very well known faces in the Indie horror scene. Stride gives a flawless performance as the troubled lead. Going one step further, I was completely enamored with young Alice, played by Etalia Turnbull. You'd never guess this was her one and only film. Silvana Maimone, the most seasoned actor the bunch, is extremely convincing as the sometimes sane mother of Mary Ann. She goes from zero to psychotic bitch quicker than me on a bad day.

Red Kingdom Rising is beautifully shot and the use of color that's added gives it a believable fairytale feel. There are so many places in this film where a lot of directors would've lost control. With all the transitions from the dream world back to reality, I can see where that would happen but Dev never once let's the enormity of it all overwhelm him. They're smooth and clever and you will be asking yourself, "is this the real world or the dream world?" Dev also creates some rather brilliant dialogue that effortlessly draws the viewer in. It's not a film that you can walk in and out of. You have to pay attention. The dialogue is full of riddles and cryptic talk that if you're not watching, you're lost. BUT, don't let that steer you away, it's worth the 73 minutes you'll invest. I honestly can't find one thing wrong with this film... I know, shocking isn't it? It's a twistedly beautiful film that every fantasy horror fan should watch. I look forward to seeing more from Dev and his team.

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