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The Ogress

Critic:

Joe Beck

|

Posted on:

27 Jul 2022

Film Reviews
The Ogress
Directed by:
Jon Kent
Written by:
Jon Kent
Starring:
Tim Cullingworth-Hudson, Jake Francis, Meg Matthews
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Everybody’s heard of Jack the Ripper - the infamous case of a string of murders in Victorian London, where the perpetrator was never found. Perhaps that’s the reason everyone knows about Jack the Ripper, and nobody knows about Amelia Dyer - a far more prolific murderer, of children no less, during the same period.

 

Dyer was dubbed the ‘Ogress of Reading’, and it’s her moniker which has inspired the title of Jon Kent’s short film ‘The Ogress’, as that terrible past comes back to haunt the present day. No, this isn’t a ghost story, not really, but rather a terrifying flick about serial killers, mingled with a little bit of mythical cult horror.

 

Over a hundred years on from the Amelia Dyer case, detective John Hayes (Jake Francis) is struggling with a number of missing children cases, however, there’s an anomaly in the pack - a woman, Anya (Meg Matthews) has recently disappeared. All the signs point towards it being committed by the same perpetrator, but Hayes can’t quite piece together the pieces. Meanwhile, he’s faced by Anya’s desperately concerned partner David (Tim Cullingworth-Hudson), who is urgently seeking answers for Anya’s disappearance.

 

‘The Ogress’ is, to put it plainly, a terrifying watch, as the slow build-up of suspense leads to an altogether unexpected conclusion, even though on the way we can see all the evils which our characters can’t. Take a seemingly friendly nun, Sister Claire (Corinne Strickett) - she seems generous and empathetic to David and Anya, but to us she’s perhaps a little too friendly, and so her role in Anya’s disappearance comes as no surprise.

 

Director Jon Kent builds up the suspenseful atmosphere with craft and guile, throwing us into the situation at just the right pace, so that the build-up never feels too long, and we never feel out of our depth. He also makes the dark, foreboding atmosphere look creepy - as trees and ornaments on the wall jump out at us as objects of possible harm. It’s a really excellent directorial turn, and although the writing occasionally lets him down in the dialogue, it is nonetheless a terrific piece by an up-and-coming filmmaker.

 

The performances grow as the film progresses, with Tim Cullingworth-Hudson immediately standing out as the dishevelled David, just looking for answers about his partner's whereabouts. He is a sturdy presence and understands that though the dramatic focus may be on Detective Hayes and Anya, he is the one with the most responsibility to uphold the quality of the performances. Jake Francis and Meg Matthews are also very solid in their performances and sell their characters believably - each working well with Cullingworth-Hudson, though in different scenes.

 

‘The Ogress’ is a terrifyingly effective example of a short-horror film done right. Mixing true crime with serial killers and the supernatural to create a film which doesn’t rely on jump-scares, but rather on the atmosphere it creates. It’s also a film with a group of characters, and a story, which deserves to be given feature-length treatment and could feasibly work in that format.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film