Dir. George Popov (@TheGeorgePopov)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“we had planned to go to the festival together and meet there, but she never showed up… ”
When Martin (Daniel ‘Hex’ Oldroyd) returns from the military to search for his missing sister Meg (Amy Tyger), he gets caught up in a strange traditional folk festival called 'The Droving', nothing good can come of it…
Based on the actual Winter Droving event that takes place in Penrith – this newest entry into the growing Folk-em-up horror genre that includes classics like The Wicker Man and Midsommer adds some revenge motive violence to the mix.
'what will he find?'
As the second feature from indy production company Rubicon Films, this is an exciting slice of high tension that slow burns with a voodoo menace right up until the occult climax. Other reviewers have cited the excellent Dead Man’s Shoes as a reference point and I totally get that, I’d add Ben Wheatley’s Kill List too. What The Droving brings to the table is unique cinematography, some of the shots are jaw-dropping such as the lake and hill scenes – delivering moments of wonder amidst the unease and weirdness.
Oldroyd is great in the lead as the man of violence who is trying to make sense of the oddities around him. Speaking of odd things Eden Arts gave permission for footage from the actual 2018 Winter Droving to feature in the film. Project manager Bryoney Fawn Cartlidge said: “We are delighted that people are drawing inspiration for their projects from the Winter Droving. The festival really captures the imagination of Penrith and wider Eden and we are always encouraged by the way in which people join in with the myths and magic around the event.” I can imagine that the film will attract even more to check out this very eccentric custom.
'no sign of Nic Cage, fortunately'
I was captivated for the whole mysterious journey, and if there’s anything I’d have changed it’s that I’d have liked some more time spent on the big reveal at the end. But this is a minor quibble and in many ways The Droving effectively both sticks to the folk-horror formula whilst upping the ante at the same time – nice work all round!!
'some things are better not discovered'
To paraphrase my favourite Britney Spears song ‘you droving me crazy’, this is a dark trip worth savouring and a great calling card for future horrors from Director Popov.
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(4.5 - Folks with your head... in a good way)
Awesomeness öööö – Nice build up which sucks you in
Laughs öö – Some dark humour
Horror öööö – Some violence but lots of menace
Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Paganism isn't dead
Click this image for some darkness !!
– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)