Written by: Daniel Hadley
Directed by: Robert Hamilton
Cast: Phil Amico, Nick Apostolides, Liz Christmas
After The Suffering’s closing credits began to roll, I struggled to come up with an adequate rating as it has a lot going for it and yet I couldn’t help but feel… well, bored.
The Suffering follows Henry Dawles, who accepts a job of appraising an old rural estate being overseen by an old caretaker. After arriving he begins to experience strange and disturbing events that leads him to believe something unnatural is lurking somewhere on the old grounds. Now what this film has going for it is its atmosphere. The sense of foreboding dread permeates every scene, the building unease leads to a few creepy moments and coupled with some great cinematography you could be fooled into believing that the film is building to something spectacular. And while I didn’t hate the ending, it’s nothing I hadn’t seen before… twice in two of the Hellraiser sequels, in fact.
As the story progressed all the pieces seemed to fall together and the ending revelation came without the bang it needed, as I had put the puzzle together well before the final pieces were in place. It’s a shame because the overall quality of the production really deserved a better story to go along with it. It’s not that it’s terrible, it just traverses some very well-trodden ground in the psychological horror genre.
All of the cast do a good job in their respective roles, and the movie is just dripping with atmosphere. But atmosphere only gets you so far. There were a few scenes that built up a decent amount of dread but they were few and far between. The worst part is that when those scenes did pop up they were great, the movie just needed more of them.
I found my mind wandering more often than not as the film failed to hold my attention, and it’s not that I need constant pulse pounding action – I can appreciate a slow burn horror just as much as the next man, but there was nothing to keep me gripped. I did make it all the way through in one sitting, but I can’t say I wasn’t inclined to pause the movie and come back to it later. Again I have to stress that this movie isn’t bad and to someone who hasn’t seen quite as many movies as I have might enjoy the story.
So, if you looking for a movie dripping with atmosphere but very light on scares, then give The Suffering a shot. It tells a decent, if familiar tale, and when you throw in some good performances this could be an enjoyable time, it just didn’t work for me, unfortunately.