Beyond the snow-capped peaks and the winding roads lies a farmhouse; outside, the sheep are penned in, shivering in the bleak weather, but inside there is warmth, birthday cake and gifts for Pa, though his daughter Maisy must unwrap them on his behalf, he confined to a wheelchair, his sad eyes moving and just about able to swallow as he is fed.
Then, the frantic knock on the door, the plea for help: two brothers, Matty, confused and distraught, and Jack, the elder, slumped on the ground and bleeding after a car accident. Mother Rose allows them in, but there is no telephone, no internet, and no mobile reception until the storm which caused their car to overturn has passed, but there is an urgency to their demands and a bloody knife in Matty’s pocket.
Cockneys vs Zombies director Matthias Hoene returning to horror after the fantasy of The Warrior’s Gate, it is a storm of ill winds which has blown Matty and Jack (Harry Cadby and writer Neil Linpow) to the Little Bone Lodge, a boiling pot of volatile people at their worst, the sheltered Maisy (Sadie Soverall) curious about the invaders but trepidatious, aware that not all is as it should be but Rose (The Messenger‘s Joely Richardson) one mean mother who should not be crossed.
Devoted to her family and accustomed to sacrifice and hardship, caring for her husband and child and the animals single handed through all that life has thrown at her, the accident which left him profoundly disabled and took her son, necessity has her picking up her sewing kit and stitching up Jack but they are not a part of her family and their demand of immediate transport to their rendezvous is not something she will easily accommodate.
Jack devoted to his brother but ill-equipped to cope with his needs, exacerbated by the loss of routine circumstances have forced on them, when left alone with Maisy she is able to get through to Matty, sharing a cocoon of light where they are safe until it is penetrated by radio waves carrying news of a robbery and two brothers on the run, one of them taken from a home where the carer was murdered.
The blood-splattered halls and cellar of the Little Bone Lodge containing a multitude of secrets and hidden sins, it is not a film of black and white, all of the characters wanting better things for themselves and their families but forced to deal with what life has dealt them with efficiency and without sentimentality, Rose simply wishing for things to be neat and tidy and the understanding that nobody answers back to her in her own home.
The Glasgow Film Festival has now concluded