From the very first frame, this movie oozes atmosphere. It seems effortless, but the people responsible for this movie want you to believe it is. But everything is so meticulously crafted, you start to wonder if any of it was really deliberate or if these people just got lucky. I mean, horror isn't exactly the first genre you think of when you think of movies being an art form, is it?
As a huge stickler for cinematography, I truly believe that even the lamest, most boring film is made infinitely better if it is pretty to look at. This movie movie not only delivered, but exceeded all of my (albeit, low) expectations. Every single frame of this movie could stand alone as a framed photograph in an art exhibition, and it's not just the expansive shots of the various parts of Scotland and Wales that made it a joy to watch, it was also the way the camera itself was used to frame what transpired on screen. In ugly movies, the camera just sits there with no semblance of coordination or even a passing understanding of visual aesthetic (B-movies are the prime example of that). This movie felt like the whole visual team worked as a cohesive whole that understood that camera placement, framing and positioning are just as important at conveying what is going on in a given scene as the action itself. There aren't many horror films that do this effectively, and the ones that do are few and far between (The Witch, Hereditary,& Midsommar to name a few). This was just a breathtaking movie to watch for me, personally, and the visual team should be commended and given raises for the work they did on this film.
That being said, the movie itself, while incredibly atmospheric and creepy as all get out, could have done more to push the boundaries of the story it was trying to tell. I felt that things could have gone further with the reasoning behind the actions taking place, but so much of it was left to ambiguity that it made for a less than satisfying ending. I wanted more of a definitive end to the story instead of one that was left to the imagination.
The acting was stupendous, the score was effective and nerve wracking, and the length of the film was just right, telling an interesting story with a good pace for the duration of the film. Overall, I am thoroughly impressed by this film and while 2022 just started, it's one of the better films I've seen so far. I eagerly await this directors next film, and if this one is any indication, it can only get better from here.