A Night In The Woods
Slow paced and tonally inconsistent, Body At Brighton Rock is a film with a lot of potential that’s ultimately squandered. Despite some slick camera work and some nice ideas, the execution feels lacklustre, relying heavily on stock music and formulaic plot beats we’ve seen a thousand times before in films like this. There’s enough here to make for a perfectly serviceable thriller but the left-field ending and confusing genre-hopping makes this a film that can’t quite decide what it wants to be.
The story itself revolves around Wendy, a park ranger. After getting turned around in the woods by herself and losing her map, she stumbles upon a dead body miles away from where she should be. After calling in headquarters for help, they tell her to stay put and guard the crime scene. With help arriving in the morning, Wendy has to try and survive the night, with predators and a potential murderer lurking in the woods. All of this builds to a strange plot twist at the end while swinging like a pendulum between horror and thriller territory.
In a way, Body At Brighton Rock feels like the film equivalent of both The Forest and Firewatch video games. The former sees you exploring and surviving in the woods whilst Firewatch sees you alone as a park ranger while strange things occur around you. I definitely got similar vibes watching this film but you really have to suspend quite a bit of belief going into this one. Given her park ranger training there’s a profound lack of survival instincts from Wendy until the latter periods of the film which certainly takes some of the shine off this one.
As an actual compelling story, Body At Brighton Rock is okay, albeit slightly formulaic in the way it delivers its plot. However, the film tries to hide its inconsistencies with some slick camera work and decent editing. Technically at least, the film is really well put together and some of the individual scenes work brilliantly. Whether it be a shot of Wendy’s boots as they crunch through the leaves or the numerous shots of her dwarfed by the ridge around her, Body At Brighton Rock is certainly an aesthetically pleasing film.
Still, Body At Brighton Rock is unlikely to be a film remembered for very long this year. While it does have some nice ideas and the camera work helps make this a good looking film, the tonally inconsistent narrative and questionable characterisation hold this back from being a better title. It’s not a bad film per-se but it’s not a particularly great one either, content to ride that middle ground of forgettable mediocrity.