Wake Wood

2009

Wake Wood

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

39%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,770
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Wake Wood Photos

Movie Info

Still grieving the death of their only child Alice at the jaws of a crazed dog, vet Patrick and pharmacist Louise relocate to the remote town of Wake Wood where a local pagan ritual gives them three more precious days with her. But, what will they do when it's time for their new daughter to go back?

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Critic Reviews for Wake Wood

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (5)

  • The film cleverly brings together WW Jacobs's celebrated short story The Monkey's Paw with The Wicker Man, and it's both touching and scary.

    Mar 28, 2011 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • Low expectations are the key to enjoying Wake Wood. You have been warned.

    Mar 25, 2011 | Rating: 3/5
  • A creepy, poignant story of life and death which surprises with the strength of its ideas.

    Mar 24, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's a low-budget film that entertainingly takes its audience to the brink of pure absurdity. But it also riffs nastily and effectively...

    Mar 24, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • For all its pre-Christian paganism, demon child imagery, blood and guts, David Keating's rural horror movie is at heart an involving portrait of a young couple struggling to come to terms with the death of a daughter.

    Mar 23, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Nigel Floyd

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • With nicely subtle handling of its occult element, the film slowly builds an atmosphere and is more chilling as a result.

    Feb 28, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Wake Wood

  • Aug 21, 2017
    Unique, peculiar and effortlessly tense, Wake Wood is a strange little Irish horror film about a rural neighbourhood that harbour a dark secret from the rest of the world - their internal ability to bring the deceased back to life for a mere three days. The film features brilliant performances from Timothy Spall and Eva Birthistle and also from the young Ella Connolly. A film can be made so much better when a younger actor gives a good performance as it's often rare to see a good performance from a child actor. The film is really gory and queasy in places and I feel a lot of this could be substituted for more subtle chills that supernatural horror is so popular for. I feel they should have focused more on the climax and less on the build up of the story, as the ending is slightly ridiculous and devoid of any logic at all. A good film lays waste to a lazy ending. Fans of the Wicker Man and Pet Sematary should definitely check out Wake Wood.
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 12, 2016
    Lots of spectacular individual scenes feature in a movie that is overall, actually not that impressive.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2015
    Bit of a mishmash or good and bad points. The story is clearly an old one. Efforts to de-Irish the plot ('Wake Wood' is not an Irish name and Timothy Spall, though talented, sticks out like a sore thumb,) make the film less, rather than more interesting. It's the usual thing of Irish people being slightly ashamed of anything that seems 100% Irish. If they had rooted the horror 100% in Irish traditions, the movie might have developed its own identity and not just seemed like a 'Pet Sematary' rip-off. The concept is one that, like most horrors, is more awful when alluded to than in the execution. Once the child is resurrected, the film essentially stops being scary. The scenes of animal violence are excellent throughout. The acting is uneven and the script a little dull. Birthwistle is good but unlikeable, Gillen is not good and very subdued, their relationship seems lifeless rather than threatened and Tim Spall hams it up like he's in a episode of 'Midsomer Murders'.
    Charles B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 02, 2013
    I was really enjoying this movie, probably in the 3 star range, until the ending hit. I'll point it out when I'll discuss the ending because I plan on spoiling the hell out of this ending. Anyway, it seems innocuous enough at first but when you really think about it, it doesn't make sense even in the context of the film, which has to do with reviving the dead for a period of 3 days. To do this there are certain rules to follow. The most important of them all is that the person you want to bring back can't have been dead for more than a year, this is where the movie finds most of its dramatic juice. I liked the fact that the movie, for the most part, focused more on the characters and what these parents would do to have one last chance to say goodbye to their daughter that died in a freak accident. It is quite heartbreaking because this is, very likely, every parent's worst nightmare. So the film focuses more on the emotional side of this couple's struggles to mourn and to come to terms with their daughter's death. If there's a problem with the film is that the horror, at least until Alice is brought back to life, is pretty much nonexistent. There is that sort of 'Wicker Man'-ish feel to the village of Wake Wood, but all in all they're good people rather than being some sort of weird cult where human sacrifice is the order of the day. This is where the ending comes in, so SPOILER ALERT. The climax of the film sees Alice becoming a homicidal maniac, it's implied that the fact that it had been over a year since she had died, had some sort of weird effect on her. I didn't hate the fact that it became an 'evil child' horror movie, which is my least favorite horror sub-genre. I digress, the climax sees Louise, Alice's mother, having to lure her daughter out of Wake Wood, as the effects of revival only work inside the village, which effectively "kills" her again. Louise then proceeds to bury her daughter in the forest. All seems well, and Louise and Patrick share an embrace as their ordeal finally seems to be over. Alice's hands then reaches out from where she's buried and drags her mother down with her. Louise has been murdered, but not before we find out that she was pregnant. Effectively, Patrick loses his daughter, his wife and his unborn child all in a very short time span. We then cut to the future, I'm assuming 9 months forward, and we see that Patrick has chosen to bring Louise back to life for the three days. When they arrive to their house, Louise then takes a shower and when she gets out we find out that, even after being dead for 9 months, she's very much pregnant with a gigantic belly and she looks like she could pop at any moment. This is a woman that we saw die before our eyes. There's no question about it, this woman has DIED. The ritual wouldn't have been performed if she hadn't died. So how is it that this woman, being fucking dead as a doornail, has somehow been able to carry this baby to term??? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Yes even with the story being of bringing back people from the dead, it breaks its own rules. It's one thing to bring someone back from the dead, and the movie does a good job of explaining it. But it's another thing completely to have someone carry a baby to term when they spend 90% of that time dead. And it's just so sneaky the way they do it. 'Hey, did you like our movie so far? Well here's an ending that makes no sense, just because we can' It's just lazy, because this is a smart movie. It's not like the movie was incompetently written or acted. It is solid at both, it's just that the ending, seemingly, had no real effort put into it as far as it making sense with the rules you have already established. I mean other than that, I did like this movie. The ending just brings the rating down a tad for me. It's a movie that doesn't really focus on the horror rather than looking at how the parents grieve and what they'll do to have one last moment with their daughter, even if it means doing something completely fucked. But beware of the ending. You might not even notice it at first, but it is a pretty bad ending.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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