If there is a sorrow in the land which seeps out and poisons everything it touches it is because Seamus Laurent ordered it put there, a landowner who sought agreement from the other elders of the village, similarly inconvenienced, to deal with the incursion of gypsies in the most direct way, setting mercenaries upon their encampment to slaughter them and make cruel examples of those who ran.
The children of the village now suffering nightmares, of a man crucified like a scarecrow, his hands and feet hacked off, of a woman buried alive alongside a jawbone inlaid with silver teeth, Laurent’s son Edward goes missing after being savagely attacked by a friend; summoning help from the authorities, Lieutenant Alfred Molière arrives with John McBride, a widower who knows these nightmares all too well but whose advice is ignored by Laurent who refutes any suggestions based on superstition.
Set in the year 1888, in the mansion of Laurent and his family and the surrounding village of paupers who work the fields and the vineyards and traverse through the fog and the black branches and gnarled roots of the forest which has become home to a creature swift, stealthy and cunning, Eight for Silver is written and directed by Sean Ellis, also known under the title The Cursed.
Starring Rogue One’s Alistair Petrie as Seamus Laurent and A for Andromeda‘s Kelly Reilly as his wife Isabelle, fearful for her missing child and trying to make sense of what is happening but deliberately kept ignorant of her husband’s part in what has blighted their lives, Logan’s Boyd Holbrook is the reserved but determined John McBride, a pathologist whose knowledge goes beyond his declared expertise to encompass such as the mythical Beast of Gévaudan.
Beautifully filmed in shadow and candlelight and infused with religious fervour and guilt, the church supposedly offering sanctuary though the priest was one of the conspirators who brought the curse upon them and the artifact dug from the grave is suggested to have been cast from the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas Iscariot, there is no safety or sanctuary with the monster possibly lurking behind every tree or darkened corner as it seeks revenge.
Moving through the slow siege with pensive deliberation but stumbling somewhat as it moves into the final act, maintaining that careful pace when urgency is required and further offering a wraparound set in the trenches of the Great War which serves little purpose, Eight for Silver still deserves attention as an unusual reimagining of werewolves and their ways, filmed on location in Charente in western France and for the most part utilising practical effects to depict the unstoppable fury loose in the fields and the horror it has wrought.
Eight for Silver will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from Monday 30th January