Burning Men (2019) Review


A dread filled mood piece featuring some amazing music Burning Men follows band mates Ray (Ed Hayter) and Don (Aki Omoshaybi) who dream of moving to Memphis to live, play and pursue their destiny.

Living in London the main thing stopping them is money and deciding to sell their vinyl collection they head for a record fair to fund their flight. The dealer is less than polite barely offering them anything for their stash and seeing an opportunity for revenge Ray steals an extremely rare Black Metal record from him as payment instead.

Discovering the disc is the only recording of an obscure heavy metal band linked with devil worship and dark magic and therefore worth crate loads of cash they head north in their worn out Volvo Amazon to sell it, unaware that they are being pursued by evil forces both real and paranormal.

Meeting music lovers Gemma (Katie Collins) and Susie (Vikings Elinor Crawley) the foursome indulge in some sex, drugs and rock and roll with Susie ultimately joining them on their journey. However the already supernaturally sensitive Ray becomes more unhinged witnessing disturbing visions the closer they get to their goal of selling the stolen devil disc.

A British road movie mixed with a psychological horror Burning Men is all shot in POV which isn’t a surprise when you find out the director and co-writer of the film is Jeremy Wooding who made the first series of the hilarious Peep Show filmed in the same style.

The direct to camera first person perspective does take a bit of getting used to but once over the initial shock it suits the story perfectly considering much of the menace seemingly comes from Ray’s morbid mind enhanced by the horrible history of the record in his possession and the multitude of drugs he ingests along the way.

The script co-written by writer and music journalist Neil Spencer works well containing just enough humour and drama to adhere us to the characters and make us take what is a surreal and silly set up seriously.

The cast do a good job too with Aki Omoshaybi’s Don often occupying the voice of reason while Elinor Crawley as Susie is more open to Ray’s premonitions. As Ray it is Ed Hayter who has the most complex character and his blend of rock star angst and real life anguish wins us over in the end whether we believe in what he sees or not.

Akin to Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem the power of the record and the reality of Ray’s visions are teased throughout but like the main characters on this warped ride if the viewer can give themselves over to the trip worrying less about the destination than the experience then Burning Men has much to offer.

The power of the film is in creating such an overwhelming feeling of doom, a feeling that permeates every scene, increasing in intensity the further the threesome travel. From the urban hustle of London, to the eerie East Anglian fens and the desolate Northumbrian moors rural and city shots viewed buy the characters out of the window of their car are coupled with the evocative and eclectic score with unsettling visions sometimes passing by altering the vista drastically.

A journey unlike any other Burning Men is perfect for those seeking out something different from the average horror movie seeing as it washes over its audience like a strange dream leaving lingering images and sounds of beauty and horror in its aftermath.

Read our interview with the cats and creatives of Burning Men HERE

Movie Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Trailer:

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