Who knew on a bright summer’s day when writer and director Luke Jeffery was scouting the location of his paranoid psycho thriller Hell’s Bells that we’d end up in a world where the doomesday clock was ticking forward.
Post-apocalyptic thriller Tear Me Apart (Cannibal Films) tells the story of two brothers – living in a cave in a barren part of Cornwall – who have been forced to turn to cannibalism to survive.
Although the eldest (Frazer Alexander) clings to the notion that their father will reappear, bringing with him the return of the ‘old world’, the younger brother (Alfie Stewart) has a warped moral compass, and craves the meat they source from the bodies of hapless nomads. Their brutal, brittle existence is plunged into chaos, however, when they cross paths with a beautiful teenager (Jennie Eggleton) – who may or may not be the last girl left alive. Her sudden presence awakens dormant feelings in the brothers, altering their lives in ways they scarcely thought possible.
The plot may sound shlock-drenched on paper, but the filmmakers have weaved together something far more contemplative. Shot in and around Constantine Bay, North Cornwall in June 2014, the shoot was blessed – or cursed – with the best spell of weather that the area had experienced in around a decade, and the volatile ‘four seasons in one day’ weather that the producers anticipated never materialised, giving the film a sun-stained, scorched-earth palette instead.
The young cast do a good job with the unusual subject matter, and underlying tension is cranked up one notch at a time by the sporadic presence of a posse of gun-toting strangers, prowling the nearby fields. Tragic, rather than exploitative, Tear Me Apart is a fascinating little film that really underlines the possibilities of what you can achieve with a great setting and a bold vision. The team behind the movie – director Alex Lightman, writer Tom Kerevan and DOP Ern Hermann – are said to be working on a series of novellas and animated web comics that delve deeper into the movie’s mythology, and their ambition is undeniably refreshing.
The local aspect was undeniably the hook for me, but Tear Me Apart definitely deserves to tap into an audience outside of the Westcountry. What it lacks in gratuitous viscera, Tear Me Apart more than makes up for in mood and setting. A low-key triumph.
Brown Willy – the place – is associated with power and mystery. As the highest point in Cornwall, the hill is regarded as a sacred mountain by members of the Aetherius Society, a UFO religion, and was seen as a communal area for prehistoric people, ‘who may have used the ridge as a ceremonial procession route.’
Writer and director John Tomkins is a major drum-beater for film in Torbay, Devon and the South West. The Runner is his fifth film, and you can but hope that the characters and situations in the film are based on the filmmaker’s nightmares rather than his experience.
Each year the team behind Exeter Phoenix’s Two Short Nights film festival go out of their way to put together an eclectic mix of contemporary cinema’s finest shorts.