Don’t Look Away

Don't Look Away poster

It’s an armed robbery that falls apart even as it goes according to plan, three men blocking in a truck to seize its supposedly valuable cargo only to find a single wooden crate inside; choosing to prise it open on the spot rather than take it with them, they don’t last long enough to find out what the prize was, slaughtered one by one and then the hijacked courier mowed down by a speeding car as he flees blindly in terror.

The traumatised driver glimpsing an oddly proportioned figure in her rear-view mirror she doesn’t mention to the police, despite arriving late at home her boyfriend Steve remains oblivious, more accustomed to talking about his upcoming doctorate exams to listening, leaving Frankie to find comfort with her friends at a club where through the moving bodies she sees the figure again; the lights flicker, and every single person around her lies dead…

Don't Look Away; Steve (Colm Hill) is indifferent to the suffering of his girlfriend Frankie (Kelly Bastard).

Directed by Micheal Bafaro from a script co-written with Michael Mitton, Don’t Look Away is more coherent than their previous collaboration Amber’s Descent but opens a Pandora’s box of new problems, not the least of which is why, having been the sole survivor of two massacres in two days totalling dozens of horribly mutilated corpses the police don’t have Frankie (Kelly Bastard) either under close arrest or in protective custody.

The figure which Frankie glimpses in the corner of her eye or through flickering strips of light, always obscured or occluded, a blank-faced mannequin, it recalls two iconic Doctor Who menaces, the Autons with their affinity for plastic and the Weeping Angels, quantum locked when observed but fast-moving assassins when attention lapses even for a moment, Don’t Look Away failing to capitalise on the strengths of either of these by unleashing the horror on a parade of selfish and inept victims-in-waiting.

Don't Look Away; it waits in the shadows for its chance to move closer...

Frankie initially simply patronised by Steve (Colm Hill) who is suspicious of her closeness with the more sympathetic Jonah (Mitton), in the face of her growing terror his dismissive rudeness moves beyond gaslighting to downright creepy, while assigned one single task to keep them all alive – to watch the mannequin to ensure it cannot move – her friends can’t even manage that, leaving it to the mysterious Viktor Malik (Bafaro himself) to save them, claiming to have knowledge which he refuses to divulge other than in person.

The ensemble almost mannequins themselves, blessed with flawless skin, symmetrical features and perfect lips which mumble inane dialogue, the single twist of the final act is better than all the previous jump scares from the opening pass-the-parcel narrative onwards, though despite referencing as a touchpoint The Shining twice they might have fared better had they been familiar with the strange cases to which Sapphire and Steel were assigned.

Don’t Look Away will be available on digital download from Monday 25th September

Don't Look Away; a little touch of Brylcreem, a little dash of rouge, a little splatter of blood...



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