26 Jun 2022
Adam Probets, Tamara Glynn, Katie Smart, Darren Randall
In the 1980s a teenage boy is killed whilst playing on the railway tracks as a group of his friends looks on. Several decades later the group of friends reunites in their hometown only to be plagued by Morris’ ghost seeking revenge.
Morris is a cross between a Stephen King novel and a British railway safety advert, but disappointingly lacks the intensity of either. One must bear in mind that British safety ads can be particularly scary, search out Network Rail’s See Track, Think Train circa 2012 if you don’t believe it. Or to go slightly further afield the Central Office of Information’s Lonely Water from 1973. Returning to Morris, the film largely revolves around the main group of characters moving from location to location as they are stalked by the spirit of their ex-friend who lingers about two feet off-screen at all times clad in jean shorts and brandishing a kitchen knife. The characters themselves are very thinly sketched and have little to no personality. This is due to most of the dialogue being consumed by growing fears that Morris is either upstairs, in the room, or right behind them. The exception is Nathan (Darren Randall) who is granted a subplot with his son being one of several neighbourhood teens that were on a school bus that has gone missing. Although, not much time is allocated to developing it into something emotionally rewarding for when it eventually ties into the main plot.
Visually there is a distracting haze on most shots that gives the film an anachronistic peachy glow. And most of the visual effects that have been added in post, particularly the smashing glass effects, draw too much attention to themselves. As the adage goes, less is more. An early kill from a darkened space is by far the most effective, and Morris’ blackened eyes play into the sinister depths of the uncanny valley. Ultimately, the real scares are too few and far between.
Morris plays out like a shallow memory of a Stephen King plot. It pays little attention to developing its characters and the visuals are tonally incongruent. There is a concept for a chilling thriller here, but in its current form, it is ironically too skeletal to be scary.