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average rating is 4 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Mar 1, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Matthew Butler-Hart
Written by:
Graham Butler, Matthew Butler-Hart, Tori Butler-Hart
Riz Moritz, Ellie Duckles, Tori Butler-Hart

Dagr is an original and modern take on the found-footage film, utilising the genre to build-up an engaging protagonist pair whose energy is unfortunately lost as weaker, mundane horror traditions take over in the film’s final act.


Thea (Ellie Duckles) and Louise (Riz Moritz) are anarchist youtubers who seek fame by stealing from the wealthy and extravagant to help feed the poor. Posing as caterers, they plan to steal from a high-end fashion shoot in the Welsh countryside being organised by director Tori (Tori Butler-Hart), and document their journey to the site. But unbeknownst to any of them, an ancient evil also resides at the house, waiting for its chance to reawaken.


Dagr’s strength is in the relationship between its leading sisters-in-arms Thea and Louise – an outlaw pair motivated by both egotistical desire for notoriety and an ethical backlash against an extravagant upper class that excludes them. Ellie Duckles and Riz Moritz give great performances and have excellent chemistry that realises a committed bond between the girls. Framed through the perspective of an unedited version of one of their videos, the audience gets both their ‘performance’ selves as well as their real personalities off camera – which is effectively used to show the growing danger as their boisterous YouTube personas give way to their authentic and vulnerable selves. Whilst each character is played with a carefree, insensitive edge, the characters are enjoyable and viewers will find themselves rooting for the pair when the scares start.


The film jumps back and forth between the girls and the film set they aim to rob. The haunting begins before their arrival, but despite this the happenings at the manor are far less engaging than the ominous road trip. It’s not for lack of trying – the crew led by Tori Butler-Hart’s director are an interesting enough collective. But it’s a general lack of imagination and reversion to tried and tested techniques that mean these scenes are ultimately forgettable even when the main plot events are taking place. There’s no real sense that the supernatural terror is connected to the flaws or features of the people in attendance, and its stalking of them one-by-one feels trite because of this. The girl’s arrival at the house unfortunately succumbs to these generic horror-chase tropes rather than alleviating them, which given the amount of time we spend with the girls feels like a let-down.


The handheld footage corner of horror has found it difficult to surpass its Blair Witch genesis – with most films reverting to the same beats established in the 1999 classic. Dagr’s social media slant feels like unrealised potential to go in a different direction, and it is unfortunate that it loses its way towards its conclusion. The story of Thea and Louise is the film’s driving force, and their unapologetic, risk-taking lifestyle seems like a fantastic dynamic to place in the genre. But rather than them utilise their survival instincts, nous or fighting instinct, they become typical final-girls running from a ghostly apparition. The film is still enjoyable, and horror junkies will find a lot to like. But if it maintained the strength of its intriguing and fantastically-crafted first half throughout, perhaps it would attain the viral fame the likes of which Thea and Louise crave.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release, Indie Feature Film
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