Director: Andy Roberts
Starring: Jack Angel, Andy Roberts, UK. 1h 06m
While not wanting to dumb down the power of this movie, but it has to be said that this is like a British version of The DaVinci Code (2006) set around the city of Bath
and surrounding countryside, Andy (Roberts) is a talented young student in photography and film hooks up with his psychic uncle Jack (Angel) and friends to uncover the secret mysteries behind the architecture and history of the city. Jack, has a knack of hearing supernatural entities and sensing presences that are ethereal in nature, after getting his young nephew to join him in filming his investigations, young Andy starts noticing some life-changing events.
Drawing on the success of various other found footage and mockumentary films, there’s a lot of charm in occult angel. Initially a digs deep into the history of the city and the formation of famous landmarks and churches, and then it starts to look at the prehistory, pagan beliefs and uncanny connections between prestigious buildings and pagan icons.
After some time digging through archives and following key personalities there’s a recurring character, the horned serpent that keeps reappearing in hidden and secluded places, the more the trio dig up this unnerving character the darker and more violent the psychic outbreaks become. After the persistence they find themselves following ancient trails under the city and witnessing bizarre violent rituals, but by then they are in too deep. the horrors even start to follow them home. The film switches from the town and starts to focus on the characters, in one brilliant scene Andy is attacked in his own home by unknown forces in scenes that mimic Paranormal Activity (2007).
The film is quite intelligent, Jack Angel shows a high degree of intelligence when talking about the subject of the city, making connections with Stonehenge and other sacred sites, he really does come across as a competent Professor Langdon. On the other hand his young nephew and side kick Andy, while the supernatural isn’t his forte did come across convincingly out of his depth, in one scene is following a suspected cult member and is concerned as to why the man is looking up at a flock of birds flying over as head, as if it’s something outlandish, and a lot of those comments just seemed obvious, but he does drive the films pace through his curiosity.
Overall the film does what it sets out to achieve, it definitely has an authentic feeling of a found footage documentary, despite having lots of mysterious additions and edits, which are explained in the opening, that Andy had a nervous breakdown and went back and edited his own film, adding creepy outtakes sound effects and hidden messages.
We uncovered an occult mystery in the city of Bath
Once the film get through character introductions and explaining itself, it quickly get down to work as the group, do their best impression of Time Team, the start explaining sacred Mounds, ley lines, and detailing the historic architects behind the building of Bath, the film soon takes a sudden turn, down a dark path which is usually only tread by the likes of Ben Wheatley, and pretty soon, The Wicker Man (1973) characters start crawling from the woodwork and dancing through the forest with hand crafted masks. With all of its merits it has quite a lot of accuracy with its detailing, and even with a small budget, there’s some intelligent use of special effects and some great tension an atmosphere is cast, although the film is left be a little dry at times, and it seems to drop off before an exciting lavish conclusion.
can you work it out?
Without any spoilers, there is a peculiar addition to the ending of the film, a new masked character is introduced, who gives a little disturbing speech and then presents the viewers with a puzzle to solve… along with a warning not to solve it.
On the whole it’s quite enjoyable film, it is incredibly short though, and just about manages to cram in a lot of history, a great mystery and a few scares. it’d be very interesting to see what the director does next, or maybe there will be a sequel?
R: Paranormal Activity (2007), The Wicker Man (1973) , The DaVinci Code (2006)
L: British paranormal movies, Occult Flicks