The guys at Grimm Up North know there horror so when we heard they were going into making movies of their own we were more than excited.
The twisted tree they planted has finally bore fruit with their first film White Settlers, a Scottish set slasher that cuts deep into the British psyche after recent events saw a referendum into the future of our Highland neighbors who were voting for their independence.
As we now know the Braveheart’s of the country narrowly lost out to those preferring a still United Kingdom but the north versus south divide still rages on and after watching White Settlers you may change your mind on who you side with.
Taking a long established horror movie set up and updating it to modern day British Isles the film opens on London couple Ed and Sarah (Lee Williams and Pollyanna McIntosh) being taken round a massive country cottage in Scotland by an estate agent eager to shift the repossessed property as soon as possible.
Yearning for a large home but unable to afford it back down south the pair see the farm house as a perfect purchase being as its being sold at such a bargain price and decide to snap it up moving in some time latter to start a new life.
At first the lovers lives seem idyllic as they enjoy the quiet isolation and amazing countryside right on their doorstep but as day turns to night Sarah starts to fear they are not alone and soon her worries becomes real as a gang of pig mask wearing assailants break in and attack them turning their dream home into a nightmare.
Taking tropes from many movies such as Deliverance, Straw Dogs, Inbred, Wrong Turn and more White Settlers treads a path that many horrors have gone down before pitting tamed urbanization against wild nature with the cultured sophisticated city dwellers set against a gang of rugged, rude and old fashioned country folk, praying on the audiences fears of the angry uncouth outsider invading our sacred sanctuary and bringing the chaos of the dark and unknown into our brightly lit controlled environment.
The irony in all these films including White Settlers is that it is in fact the so called heroes or victims that are usually encroaching and polluting the land and way of life of the people who end up attacking them and this is made obvious here by Ed’s constant racist jokes against the Scottish and the early mention that the house the couple have bought is well out of the price range of any of the local people.
It is also ironically stated that the area was the site of an ancient war between the Scots and English preempting what is to come and perhaps hinting that the two cultures have always clashed be it on the battle field or in the polling booths.
Although slightly predictable plot wise director Simeon Halligan and writer Ian Fenton do a good job at crafting a tense and foreboding feel from the start and when the home invasion starts we feel as trapped and attacked as the characters involved.
The sense of identification is helped along by the excellent Pollyanna McIntosh who is engaging and believable throughout, far outshining her co-star and winning the audiences allegiances instantly.
The Grimm folks have done well for their first feature and White Settlers is a well crafted, traditional horror movie with a modern twist making for an entertaining and atmospheric film that will definitely have you reconsidering your next holiday north of the border.
Read our Interview with Pollyanna McIntosh Here