In the run-up to St. Patrick's Day, we've been looking at young Irish actors who are ruling the world and Irish movies on Netflix. Now we turn our attention to Irish horror.
Horror is a genre that has been turned to again and again in Irish film, likely owing to the fact that they can be made on limited budgets. In fairness, there have been some high quality, truly creepy Irish horror films produced over the years.
Here are some of our favourites from the last decade.
Ellen Page ('Juno') stars in 'The Cured', a fresh new take on zombie movies. It imagines a world in which a cure has been found for the disease that turns people into cannibalistic monsters. However, 'the cured' are now rejects of society, having done such atrocious things and killed so many in their zombie state. A sense of frustration and desire for rebellion starts to arise among them.
It's easy to see how director-writer Ciaran Foy got offered 'Sinister 2' (with another project for Blumhouse in development) given this film was his debut. In 'Citadel', Aneurin Barnard plays Tommy, who now suffers from agoraphobia after an attack by a gang killed his wife. As a widower, Tommy must raise his baby alone. At his wife's funeral, he is warned by a priest ('Game of Thrones' star James Cosmo) that the gang will return for his daughter.
The Little Stranger
'The Little Stranger' marked a notable departure for Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, who had previously made social dramas like 'Adam & Paul' and the Oscar-winning 'Room' with Brie Larson. 'The Little Stranger' sees him reunite with 'Frank' star Domhnall Gleeson, who plays a doctor who visits a manor which is in decline as well as haunted. He becomes increasingly beguiled by the well-to-do family who live there.
Those with a fear of clowns may want to avoid this one. It stars stand-up comedian Ross Noble as a clown who comes back from the dead to haunt those who took his life during a fatal party mishap. Fun fact: The Japanese title of the film translates as 'The Dead Clown Goes Mad'. In France, the film's title is 'Dark Clown'.
The Hole in the Ground
If you're in the mood for seeing a horror on the big screen, 'The Hole in the Ground' is showing in cinemas now and stars Irish actress on the rise, Seana Kerslake. Her character is a young mother who has recently moved into a house on the fringes of a rural town with her son. Strange things start to occur, especially disturbing changes in her little boy.
Alternatively, you might be in the mood for a horror-comedy and if so, 'Grabbers' is just the ticket. Starring Richard Coyle, it sees an island off the coast of Ireland get invaded by bloodsucking aliens. The only way the island inhabitants can protect themselves is by getting drunk as a high blood alcohol content is toxic to the Grabbers.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
If you were a fan of 'The Favourite', then you have to check out 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer'. Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos directed both (as well as Irish co-production 'The Lobster') and it follows the surreal relationship between a surgeon (Colin Farrell) and teenage boy (Barry Keoghan) and its deadly consequences. Nicole Kidman co-stars while Keoghan has never been so terrifying.
A Dark Song
This indie horror packs quite the punch. It earned high acclaim and won a bunch of awards on the festival circuit. Starring Steve Oram, Catherine Walker and Mark Huberman, 'A Dark Song' follows a determined young woman and a damaged occultist who risk their lives and souls to perform a dangerous ritual that will grant them what they want. Things get, understandably, super frickin freaky.
'Without Name' has been described as an eco-horror. It marks another feature film debut, this time for Lorcan Finnegan (who's currently in post on a sci fi film with Jesse Eisenberg). A land surveyor on an assignment to measure an ancient forest for a developer loses his reason. Alan McKenna (Tony Andrews in 'Eastenders') takes the lead.