A Curious Tale
22 Jan 2022
Pete Tindal, Bill Johnson, Ian Kear, Amanda Dann
An elderly musician travels to a small coastal town in Sussex, in search of a crown from the Middle Ages. What he finds is more than he bargained for.
A veteran musician named Rattlebone (Tindal), who has a keen interest in archeology arrives at Snowgood, where there is a legend that says that hundreds of years ago the Three Royal Vintage Crowns of the Sussex Heritage were buried there. It is believed that these crowns have a magical power that protects the Kingdon of Sussex from invasions, providing that at least one crown remains undiscovered. Today, only one crown is still buried and apparently no one knows where. Through extensive research, Rattlebone believes that he has discovered the location of the last one and is determined to find it. However, by doing so he might be putting his life in danger, as sinister figures proceed to pursue him.
This spooky ghost story was inspired by the novel A Warning To the Curious by M.R. James and it is interesting, suspenseful and has its scary moments. The majority of the narrative focuses on the optimistic musician as he explores the city, meets locals that include an antique dealer, a farm woman, a vicar and a visiting man named Blackman (Johnson). Most of the individuals he encounters appear friendly and he also learns about the Hagar family, whose members claimed to know the whereabouts of the hidden crown. As the plot moves on, things move towards the supernatural and frightening things begin happening that include the spirit of William Hagar, the last relative of the Hagars, going after Rattlebone and the terrifying spirit of a woman holding a tool with a large blade.
Is this horror film any scary? The horror elements are mainly the ghost of William and the woman. The woman's appearance is quite frightening, as she wears clothing that appears to belong in the Middle Ages, walks slowly and she is surrounded by mist. On the other hand, William's appearance is no different from that of a normal person, which makes him seem less menacing as he chases Rattlebone. It is during the second half of the film that things turn towards horror and there are nail-biting moments and murder.
Tarrant directs well, capturing the beauty of the surrounding locations and creates wonderful establishing shots of beaches. Neill McKenzie provides satisfying narration and Jeff Crampton composes music that is tense and suspenseful and in other parts it makes one think of the medieval times. Acknowledgement also goes to the stylized letters during the opening and closing credits.
This feature is not without its flaws. The acting is not very strong and there are moments that seem silly. Nevertheless, the plot is interesting and there are scenes that will probably give some viewers the chills. Generally, this is a decent ghost story.