Anyone who spends enough time searching for good horror movies will find that absolutely every culture has something unique and powerful that can be added to the horror world. Fear is one of the most subjective concepts in human experience, so it is not surprising that every culture has its own attitude to panic on the big screen.
What do people think about when they imagine an Irish film? Historical dramas such as Black 47 or the cult 1992 thriller The Crying Game are set in Ireland during a dark era of Turmoil. On the other hand, travel romcoms like Leap Year, which are more about the beauty of the nation. At worst, some might imagine a less-than-respectful “Leprechaun” franchise. But the country has a thriving film culture, including several visionary horror directors.
Irish director Lorcan Finnegan created this bizarre new vision of hell in 2019. Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, the film depicts the nightmarish surreality of settling down, retiring to the suburbs and having a baby. A charming young couple is struggling to buy their first home until they find a conveniently located suburban development. They take a tour of the house, both largely uninterested in the property, but quickly discover they can’t leave. Soon they discover a child on their porch, whose strange behavior leads them into a state of constant terror. Watching Eisenberg and Poots break down as their suburban prison undermines their sanity is one of the most invigorating cinematic experiences of recent years. It’s a smart and subtle film, but when it breaks off, it evokes a level of inner horror that’s hard to match.
You’re not my mother
There is a unique trend of horror films about mothers and the things that can portray them. “You’re Not My Mom” fits in well with this trend, but the brilliant performance of screenwriter and director Kate Dolan makes it special. The film stars Hazel Dope as Char, a young girl who struggles to adjust to her family or her peers. Her time at school suffers from bullying, and her time at home is no better. Her mother has fallen into depression and rarely gets out of bed while her grandmother is seriously ill. When her mother suddenly disappears only to reappear, dramatically changed, Char is forced to reckon with something she cannot understand. The film easily balances unnerving horror and social themes, creating a deeply intelligent and haunting atmosphere.
It would be a shame not to include a film that tells about the long and proud history of Ireland about the nightmarish creatures that live in its beautiful forests. Fortunately, Corinne Hardy’s directorial debut in 2015 helps newcomers get acquainted with the mythology about the true nature of fairies. The plot tells the story of a conservationist, his wife and their newborn, who move to an Irish village surrounded by a thick blanket of forest. Soon the locals begin to behave strangely, as if they are trying to drive the family out of their new home. The family discovers strange and evil forces plotting their baby and must fight impossible creatures to survive. It’s not the most original film, it’s a bit of “The Sinister Dead” and a bit of “Straw Dogs”, but Irish folklore gives it a unique personality. This movie should be watched by everyone who is familiar with fairy tales or loves them.
A hole in the ground
Another directorial debut, this time from Lee Cronin, who is going to shoot the upcoming series “The Sinister Dead”. Released in 2019, “Hole in the Ground” is an unusually solid film in an unusually prolific subgenre of horror films about evil children. In it, Shona Kerslake plays a young single mother who is increasingly concerned about her son’s unusual behavior. When she discovers the funnel of the same name, she begins to wonder if the boy living in her house is her son. The film manages to maintain a constantly unpleasant atmosphere, relying almost entirely on cinematography and musical cues. This is a time-tested concept with almost perfect execution.
The Irish are arguably much more famous for their sense of humor than their horror, which is why the Emerald Isle horror comedy stands out. Director John Wright and screenwriter Kevin LeHane have created this unique and fascinating monster movie combining writhing horrors with one of the most popular stenotypes in the country. In the film, Richard Coyle plays an aging alcoholic cop who is unhappy with meeting his new partner, hardworking and ambitious in her quest for promotion. A quaint Irish village is being attacked by a multitude of hideous tentacles with mouths. Everything looks terrible until they discover that the alien’s weakness is alcohol. This plunges the residents of the city into a long defensive stupor and turns a nightmarish survival scenario into a high-stakes pub brawl. He copes with a difficult double action: be really scary and funny.