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average rating is 2 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Sep 1, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
James Bushe, Patrick Michael Ryder, Greig Johnson
Written by:
Patrick Michael Ryder, Christine Barber-Ryder, James Bushe
Richard Brake, Rufus Hound, Andrew Lee Potts

You know the score. A remote location. A youthful, wide-eyed group of friends. A creepy, weathered guide who surely hasn’t registered their ghost tours for tax purposes. It’s a horror anthology alright – and Lore is a solid if unspectacular collection of macabre stories with a mischievous and humorous streak that will endear it horror fanatics.


A group of friends embark on a ghost tour in a deep, remote forest. The mysterious guide Darwin (Richard Brake), a man surrounded by a sinister air, encourages the group to share their scariest ghost stories around a campfire. In Shadows, a demon stalks low-level gangsters around an abandoned factory. A ghostly figure stalks a family in The Hidden Woman. A brutish lout receives a shock in Cross Your Heart. And in The Keychain Man, a towering cinema attendant develops a taste for blood. Little do the group know, the stories they tell threaten to have very real consequences…


Lore is structured around an anthology-style offering of short stories that will be familiar to horror fans. The plot presents each as a ghost story emanating from a member of a friendship group, and all feature similar beats, themes and classic horror staples – usually ending in a bloody, effect-filled massacre of some form or another. For fans just after bloodlust, the film is well-shot and framed, and well-produced – with convincing visual and practical effects and impressive quality for an independent film. Other elements such as costume design are a highlight, as is impressive usage of lighting (particularly in The Hidden Woman) and enough visual distinction in each of the stories to make the different plots independent of one another.


But the film fails to really do anything unique or outstanding with the solid platform it is presented. Beyond their visual presentation and some material plot differences, the stories themselves fail to really differentiate themselves from one another. Too often a haunted protagonist has to convince sceptical disbelievers of a ghosts’ validity, leading to a darkened chase sequence. The monster’s motivations are left under or unexplored. And perhaps most disappointingly of all, the overarching ‘campfire’ story that binds the whole film together ends up with a confusing and underwhelming conclusion that fails to justify its position as the film’s central focus. The manner in which the film runs out of fuel means that Lore feels simply like an excuse to put an hour and 30 minutes of gore to the screen – whether that is a positive or a negative is really up to the viewer.


The cast are allowed leeway to add a degree of charm, charisma and humour to their characters that is somewhat rare in lower budget horror. Despite strong, bloody violence, the film never takes itself too seriously – with some amusing one-liners and knowing references, particularly in Shadows and The Keychain Man. Strangely, the talents of the film’s highest profile star Rufus Hound feel wasted in Cross Your Heart – with the comedian miscast in the role of the gross and unlikeable Steve. Given the film’s embrace of the comedic, it’s an unexpected misstep.


In a genre amass with similar anthologies, Lore only stands out on a surface level, failing to really grip or engage with the potential offered by its structure. It’s got enough for viewers solely looking for a polished late-night thrill, but is forgettable at story level. The next time this friend group speak to the dead, they should try and tell them something they haven’t heard before.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release
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