AKA Blood Harvest
Director: Thomas Robert Lee Starring:Catherine Walker, Jared Abrahams, Sean McGinley, Jessuca Reynold, Don McKellar. USA. 1h 34m
For the most part, The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw is a slightly perplexing pagan tale, seeming to take roots from a host of folklore horror classics but while it’s a masterclass of cinematography and there’s nothing negative to be said about the acting, there’s just not really enough here to bite into, or at least nothing we haven’t seen done better elsewhere.
Thomas Robert Lee has crafted a really amazing look and feel, you can smell the dank earth and feel the persistent fear of the people in this wayward village, but what is really going on here? He leaves that up to the viewer to make sense of the thoroughly creepy symbolic scenes, which will leave many confused and others plainfully bewildered. It works but only if you get it.. and what do you get?
The film is set in an eerie Protestant village apparently in the 1970’s however it feels more like the 1870s. A nervous woman Agatha Earnshaw (Walker) lives outcast from the pious flock of the provincial village, she spends her time trying to survive while hiding her daughter from the locals, with this one mystery floating around in the murky countryside, the village is soon hit by a deadly plague which devastated the livestock and sends the more sensitive god fearing people into madness.
Aubrey (Reynold) is indeed the hidden daughter, a girl who seems to be totally innocent in all matters, but as she matures her curiosity and strong willed nature becomes more apparent and she’s not willing to hide anymore. Add this to her mothers increased paranoia and fear, and quadruple this sense of doom with hazy flashbacks of occult rituals and you’ll soon realise that everyone in this sleepy village does have something dark and terrible to fear and it’s not necessarily all down to a bad harvest.
“….he is faithful from generation to generation”
There’s a bucket of elements from other folk horrors that live on in this frustrating movie, women are inherently evil and christianty will breed crazy fanatics. There’s some intensity with a foreboding atmosphere but not a lot of effort to drive the movie into any one direction. It’s definitely haunting, laced with disturbing imagery, dead babies, blood soaked graves and naked seduction scenes bring something together but doesn’t generate anything substantial overall.
Related: Empyrean (2016), The Witch (2015), Hagazussa (2017)
Lists: Folk Horror 2020 onwards, Village Folk Horror,
Article: AOFA short introduction and history of Folk Horror and Pagan Fears