‘Body at Brighton Rock’ brings dread but doesn’t exactly deliver

Dead bodies, maggots, and bears — oh my.

“Body at Brighton Rock” is the feature directorial debut for Roxanne Benjamin. The film follows a young park ranger who comes across a corpse and then has to keep guard over the potential crime scene overnight. The film stars Karina Fontes, Casey Adams and Emily Althaus.

The acting in the film is generally decent. Characters are believable but there are a lot of lines that are delivered flatly and seem like they’d fit better in a live play than a feature film. Karina Fonte’s is great as the film’s lead named Wendy. The audience is certainly compelled to root for her character. She is goofy and clumsy, something that many people can certainly relate to. Additionally, since Wendy seems like your run of the mill average person, it is shocking to see her in such a dangerous situation.

The film has an effective score that is filled with lots of sharp string usage to convey that all-too familiar horror movie sound. Tracks complimented by a flute offer a natural vibe to the overall wilderness setting. The music is also particularly good at raising tension and evoking suspense.

The cinematography of the film is straightforward and a bit lighthearted for such a dark film. There are a few handheld shots that seemingly convey the unpredictability of the forest. The scenes during the day are a bit too bright and clean that it often takes the viewer out of the morbid subject material. On the other hand, the scenes at night are eerily lit and tensely shot. There a few shots that incorporate a zoom effect similar that of in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” The camera closes in on a character’s face as they react to something terrifying, it is an effective visual representation of dread coming over a character.

The story aspect of “Body at Brighton Rock” is where the film really suffers. The content of the film, a lone ranger finding a dead body, perhaps would’ve been more successful in a short-form. There simply doesn’t seem to be enough events to hold up the feature-length run time. A mysterious character played by Casey Adams is introduced but his screen time is extremely limited. In a last ditch effort, the films tries to incorporate the character into ending’s big twist, but it doesn’t exactly land the right way (Or make that much sense). Additionally, the film also doesn’t explore its psychological horror side enough. The crippling effects of being so close to a corpse at night aren’t conveyed as much as they should. Instead, there a couple fake-out dream sequences that don’t exactly up the fear factor as much as they intend to.

“Body at Brighton Rock” is a slightly effective survival horror piece. The dread and mystery surrounding the body are its most intriguing parts, but it simply isn’t explored as much it should be.

2.9/5

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