Us Brits have always been pretty good at ghost stories. I remember the first film that ever scared me witless was Jack Clayton’s The Innocents (1961) with Deborah Kerr as the governess caring for children possessed by the spirits of her predecessor Miss Jessel and Peter Quint, the gardener. It’s all terribly middle class, but what really made the film for me was the dream-like monochrome cinematography of Freddie Francis and the intensely Gothic location of Sheffield Park.
Well The Forgotten is like a polar opposite to The Innocents. Instead of the magnificent Gothic mansion we have a condemned council estate and it’s shot in glorious colour to emphasise the squalor and grime of the derelict locations . And the characters are anything but middle class too. Fourteen year old Tommy (Clem Tibber) and his Dad Mark (Shaun Dingwall) are squatting in the estate while Dad makes a living stripping out and selling the copper piping from the unoccupied flats. Problem is that when Tommy tries to sleep at night he hears noises from the flat next door.
When Mark ends up in hospital after an unfortunate incident with a local pimp, Tommy persuades his new friend Carmen (Elarica Gallacher) to spend the night at the flat. As you would expect noises are heard and when Carmen investigates next door she finds herself temporarily locked in the room that abuts onto Tommy’s and is manhandled by an unseen presence. So Carmen looks the place up on the internet and discovers that about 17 years before a woman was murdered in that room, at the very same time that Mark was living on the estate. Yes I think we know where this is going.
Now saying anymore will give too much away, but The Forgotten is an extremely well made and gritty modern spook chiller, which despite a fairly predictable plot has a couple of really effective jump scares, nice atmospheric use of light and shade and stand out performances from the promising young leads.
A spook story for austerity Britain I give The Forgotten at 555/666
The Forgotten is out now in the UK on DVD