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Archive for January 17th, 2010

The Stone Tape

by on Jan.17, 2010, under Daily Review

Interesting one this. I’ve been wanting to see this for as long as I can remember, and I’ve wanted to like it, but it really doesn’t live up to the hype and it’s a real, damn shame.

Written by Nigel Kneale the outstanding writer of supernatural fiction, (Quatermass), a group of scientists find themselves in a haunted house, studying and attempting to capture data of it’s former occupants. This teleplay from Christmas 72, terrorised viewers and thus claims its place in horror history. Nearly 40 years later, although the plot holds up and the acting is of a pretty good standard, there is just something missing and I’d point he finger at Peter Sasdy’s direction which is dry and flat. The actors, mainly TV, stars of Crossroads etc are left with a script of two dimensional characters and struggle to offer any empathy. Eve at strong emotional moments, characters shouting or crying, the viewer never gets too involved.

Jane Asher and Michael Bryant carry the whole film and take their roles on board, fleshing out the characters and knocking out fine performances, but the production isn’t big enough. Drab camerawork and direction just contrasts with their performance making the whole thing unbalanced. On top of this, we have the whole thing shot on video which looks awful. This could have been a very different film with a quality director, and real film stock.

All that aside, the plot and script are great and as it builds, the dry, bad production takes a back seat as the viewer is encouraged to want more and find out what is the meaning to this haunting which is a credit to Kneale, but also to Asher and Bryant who are astonishing. There are also some tremendouse scenes, especially ten minutes from the end and the final twist in the last scene which offers a real chill to the spine and gives you something to think about. 

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