Starring Aiysha Jebali, Nadia Lamin, Debra Leigh-Taylor
Directed by Richard Rowntree
Cultivated from a micro-budgeted short a couple of years ago, director Richard Rowntree’s intently-chilling film, Dogged was much more of a surprise than I thought it would be, and for me to utter those words, certainly means something – let’s get to the viscera of this one and see what stains our smocks.
The movie revolves around a man named Sam (Sam Saunders) who is facing a sort of homecoming, but it’s not necessarily one that he’d ever expect to have had – he’s venturing back to a remote island to pay his respects to a young girl that was mysteriously taken from this cruel world, and once he gets back to his old stomping grounds, he quickly realizes that this isn’t the old community he once remembered. His visit back will uncover some seriously deep, dark secretive information about the 10 year-old’s death, all the while blanketing him with a heavy dose of paranoia – just what you want to deal with when you come back home, huh? The residents here are WAY off the creepy scale, and Sam’s mounting doubts about their mental stability are the kind of thing that keeps your mind at work – Rowntree knows how to spin a yarn, and it’s done with an adept sense of making you wait this one out till the bitter end – fairly crafty stuff, indeed.
For those who are looking for a break-neck speed kind of thriller, I’m sorry to say that you’ll be disappointed – this is a simmering, slow-boiling chiller that takes its time to get up to a decent temperature for human consumption…a really long time. The feeling of claustrophobia, even on an island is present, and the overly gloomy sense of foreboding is latent, all totaling up to a place that you wouldn’t recommend for a peaceful respite even if the trip was all-inclusive. Performances are solid, especially considering this was constructed from a relatively small allotment, but hey, there’s plenty of gems out there amid the heaps of compost, and Dogged is one of those films that will pay off if you’re patient. While a bit long in duration (almost 2 hours in totality), the movies uses every single minute of frame to craft this folksy-horror flick into a living, breathing piece of cinematic frightfulness – make sure to give this one a good look when it becomes available.