Directed by Patrick Rea
Screened at FrightFest 2016
Ex-paramedic Charles (Ryan) has quit his job in order to follow his dreams and join his bandmates on tour – and before he disappears for six months, he and wife Dana (Dourif) set off on a camping trip to spend some much-needed time together.
Unbeknownst to Charles, Dana has recently discovered that she’s pregnant – but she hasn’t quite worked up the courage to tell him, given that they’ve already agreed that they’re not the kind of couple who would do well with children.
Out in the woods, Charles and Dana find their stay interrupted by the actions of a bunch of local hunters, who spend the evening getting drunk, shooting guns and riding quad bikes all over the forest. That is, until something attacks them…
With the hunters wiped out except for the gravely wounded Sean (Busey) – rescued from the situation by Charles and dragged into the couple’s tent – the three survivors find themselves stalked from all sides by some kind of forest-dwelling creature… and it only seems to be a matter of time before the thing decides to make its way inside.
Yet, the thing outside isn’t the only threat, as the smarmy, big-mouthed Sean seems to have ulterior motives of his own – quietly working his way into the minds of his two saviours as he tries to turn them against one another and secure his escape from the forest.
Primarily a character play, Enclosure relies heavily on its cast, and – thankfully – everybody here is more than up to the task. Dourif continues her impressive streak within the genre, and the interplay between her and Ryan ably generates the feeling of a loving relationship that’s just not quite in the best place right now. It isn’t overtly pointed out at any point, but the two of them manage to organically realise this subtext as a separate thread to Dana’s own worries regarding the pregnancy.
Next to them, Jake Busey inhabits the role of Sean almost entirely – he’s a perfect fit, leaving it difficult to picture anybody else in this position as he grins and weasels his way across each scene.
The drama of Enclosure does, however, outshine the horror as besides a couple of nicely timed scares, Rea overplays his monster hand with just a little too much early exposure given to the forest-dwelling beast(s). But these early shots don’t represent the quality of the impressive creature design once the last act reveals them in their full glory – adding another surprisingly effective creature to director Rea’s stable. His attraction to, and skill with, interesting monsters is just as apparent as it was in 2013’s Nailbiter – a film so inventively approached that most would never have noticed it was a werewolf flick until the reveal.
Here, we have something akin to a folklorish Native American Predator, with undertones of unpaid transgressions against Mother Earth and other antagonistic motives that might just spell the end of all three of our thoroughly modern civilisation dwellers.
Some cartoonish effects and digital compositing do let the side down, robbing chunks of fear factor from the tense, siege-like tent sequences and leaving the monsters lacking, but the dramatic threads playing out remain consistently compelling – and there’s certainly enough threat going on between the humans to get you through without much complaint.
Extra kudos to Rea for refusing to tie things with up with a nice big pretty bow, too – delivering an unexpectedly dark ending that hearkens to mythological and fairytale horror and reinforces his growing reputation as a filmmaker dedicated to finding new monstrous angles from which to come at you.