Are you itching to be creeped out but only have twenty minutes to spare? Why not take a gander at “Maengwyn”, a short indie Gothic horror film currently gracing Youtube on behalf of UK production company Lowkey Films, and directed by Connor O’Hara.
“Maengwyn” tells the tale of two pals looking to relax in the countryside. When they arrive at Maengwyn, an idyllic rented cottage, they find its owner hasn’t yet shown up to meet them but go in anyway to take a look around. Once inside, their holiday plans are turned upside down after opening a bedroom door to discover the brutally maimed corpse of another unknown house guest. This marks just the beginning of their vacation in Hell.
“Maengwyn” creates the same quiet, understated atmosphere that one would expect from a self-proclaimed Gothic horror. With very little dialogue, the film is heavily dependent on its visuals, which for the most-part support the intended tone. One of the key challenges to making a low-budget film is attaining a setting adequate enough to properly fit into a given story, and the rustic house used to film “Maengwyn” is perfect for this particular tale. Long shots of darkened hallways, and the lingering shadows of displaced bodies throughout the house, make it clear that the filmmakers possess a personal affection for the tropes of the genre, and went to great lengths to ensure their tribute to them.
This isn’t the easiest film to follow. My own interpretation of the story involves some kind of fusion between two separate stories of a haunted-house and an evil chain-letter, but to be frank I’m not entirely sure. While “Maengwyn” makes a strong and fairly successful effort at presenting some beautifully composed shots, it falters when it comes to cohesively connecting the pieces. If there’s any friendly advice I could give to the filmmakers, it would be to focus on maintaining a more even balance between mystery and revelation; at the finale I did not know enough to feel the story’s entire potential impact. That being said, I still quite enjoyed the journey despite not understanding the final destination. There were plenty of anxiety-inducing moments distributed throughout, which are due in part to the well-paced performances and gory special effects. Despite the film’s narrative weaknesses, it certainly possesses a number of technical strengths.
On the whole, “Maengwyn” is a promising effort that produces some eerie visuals and white-knuckling tension. Keep em‘ coming Lowkey.