For We Are Many

Described as “an anthology of demonic tales,” the fifth film from Scottish horror studio Hex Films retains the tone of their four features, and indeed utilises many of the cast and creatives of The Black Gloves and The Devil’s Machine, but rather than a single tale of hauntings, madness and misdeeds in the hills and forests it is a collection of fourteen short stories from twelve directors bound by a fifteenth from Hex producer Lawrie Brewster.

Running to less than an hour and a half including credits, For We Are Many squeezes a lot into that time, possibly to the detriment of many of the stories with their average running time of around five minutes allowing little more than a setup and a punchline rather than any form of development of the narrative or engagement with the inevitably tragic characters.

Many of the directors instead using the opportunity to demonstrate their technical skills, the sometimes painfully minimal budgets available have not dissuaded them from holding back on the special effects, and there is bloody murder and mutilation aplenty as well as emotional trauma, most of it achieved through reliable practical techniques rather than post-production digital effects.

Gavin Robertson’s Wendigo and Murder of Crows both carry a simple folk horror vibe in their settings, one a civil war haunting of two men by the titular creature, while the other sees a woodsman taunted by a masked figure, while in a more modern setting the forest also harbours doom in Alex Harron’s slight Demon in the Woods, Keith Robson’s Creek, one of the few segments not to take itself too seriously, and for the annoying teenagers in Andrew Ionides’ Three Times Around in which the tree itself is the most interesting object.

Possessions of various shades are seen in Paddy Murphy’s Intervention and Thomas Staunton’s Breath, neither remarkable though better than the “things jump out of the dark in a church” of Staunton’s pointless second piece The Summoned, and while both Mark Logan’s Father and Brad Watson’s Night Train at least attempt to tell a story the latter more resembles a homage to the music videos of Kate Bush.

A shift to America brings no more invention, with the predictable intentions of the cult visitors in Carlos Omar De Leon’s Bad Company, a predictably ill-fated investigation into Eli’s House from Mitch Wilson and a predictable trek through The Slaughtering Ground from Dane Keil, while Matthan Harris at least managed to get the great Eileen Dietz to pass him The Damned Statue, predictably cursed, but perhaps the most infuriating are Brewster’s linking interludes which, set in Medieval times, fail to connect the segments in any way.

For We Are Many is available on Blu-ray directly from Hex Media