The category of pop star turned actor is one filled with flops, farces and failed vanity projects.
For every Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg and Luke Goss (yes I said it!) that transcend their previous music career there is a multitude of Madonna’s, 50 Cent’s and Britney Spears doomed to appear as themselves in comedy cameo’s, forced into roles to appeal to “the kids” (Rihanna in Battleship anyone?) or worse still desperately attempting to act against type (Kylie we haven’t forgotten Street Fighter even if you want us to).
And so it was that when I heard X-Factor semi-finalist and chart and tabloid darling Diana Vickers was staring in Awaiting a low budget horror premiering at this year’s FrightFest I was somewhat dubious.
Thankfully for all involved Diana Vickers delivers an impressive and extremely convincing performance in a role that is both challenging and brave proving not only her determination to become a serious actress but that she is willing to put herself and her reputation on the line for a role in a film her music fan base might not approve of.
Vickers plays Lauren the daughter of a reclusive tow truck driver Morris (Defiance and Sons of Anarchy star Tony Curran) who lives in the wild moors of Yorkshire completely cut off from most of the surrounding society.
With only each other as company since Lauren’s mother died the pair have become very close leading to a strange and unhealthy relationship stifling her maturation yet forcing her to fulfil the needs of her father.
Enter into the home Jake (Rupert Hill) a big city hot shot whose car Morris has towed after it broke down in the middle of nowhere. Insisting Jake stays a while the hospitality of the father and daughter duo soon transforms into something more sinister as Morris’s anger and madness are revealed and his true intentions for Jake come out.
As mention Vickers brings the character of Lauren to life wonderfully, blending a childlike innocence with an inner strength even she seems unaware of and her disturbing relationship with her father is played out with as much apprehension and uncomfortable atmosphere as possible.
As Morris Tony Curran seems always one second away from slashing the throats of any and everyone in the room and the mask of humanity he wears which gradually falls away as the film progresses gives the psychotic character a very dark edge.
Sadly the weak link in the triangle of fear is Rupert Hill who crafts Jake into a deeply unlikable and annoying victim/hero who we find it hard to care or associate with. Perhaps this is Awaiting’s intension although I doubt it and it is a shame that Hill simply can’t seems to hold his own against the other actors.
Equally jarring is the obtuse soundtrack which spoils some of the more dramatic moments however in general the level of tension is set at the highest mark and the tight pacing and overall doom ridden mood instill the film with a solid horror edge.
Story wise it is plain to see where Awaiting is going from the opening but thankfully writer and director Mark Murphy rewards the audience with a very nasty third act that somewhat makes up for the genre conventions they have had to sit through beforehand.
Not the best movie from FrightFest but definitely not the worst Awaiting’s blend of Northern Hick Horror, abduction thriller and mucked up family drama make it a somewhat interesting movie helped along greatly by Curran and Vickers performances.
Escape from the black hole of pop seems imminent for Diana Vickers and here’s hoping she gets the respect and reward warranted for taking a risk on Awaiting and more exciting roles follow for her as she definitely deserves them.