HomeFilmFilm4 Frightfest: X Moor review

Film4 Frightfest: X Moor review

With their sights set on a £25,000 reward from a local newspaper, American documentary film-makers Georgia (Melia Kreiling) and Matt (Nick Blood) head to Exmoor in North Devon to hopefully capture a fabled beast that is roaming the moors. Setting up camp with an old acquaintance, cameras are set up in a small forest section. But they soon discover body parts all neatly tied up and before long they realise they are in the lair of the beast. But this beast is different to what they had been told. The moors are their only hope for survival.

Tracking down mysterious beasts on the wide expanses of Exmoor in Devon sounds like it could make a very intriguing and, quite possibly, scary horror film. Expectations were that we would watch another found footage movie, pleasingly that is not the case as it’s an actual film that includes some footage from small hand-held cameras that are integrated into the story. But that’s where the hopefulness ends, as the film rolls quickly downhill into typical night on the moors fodder.

Lots of screaming, lots of running around and very little to actually see on the screen. Select scenes are pierced with bright lights from gunshots or flares, yet even these moments suffer from still being far too dark or filming quickly accelerated so we can’t get a handle on what we are seeing. Jumps and loud noise also make an appearance but this isn’t the type of film they should so readily be thrown into.

The story kicks off with beast on the lands but soon flips into a human trafficking element, and then flips back again, and then flips into a mutant human angle. Then towards the end we are dealing with primordial elements that don’t sit right within the boundaries of this film. It flips so many times that it appears as if the film-makers decided to throw every possible scenario into the mix just to keep us guessing as to what the real answer is. The problem is that nearly all of the ideas are quickly thrown away in favour of something different. If they had stuck with just one or two then it could have been a film that had more to say. Instead it lacks any central story that we can actually get behind and be caught up in.

The introduction to the two American documentarians is short and sweet; we never are told what their background is. In fact, all of the introductions to the main cast are rushed and totally without merit and doesn’t allow us to connect with them.

X Moor doesn’t have a clue what it wants to be – it tries all manner of horror elements but none of them stick, or work, in a film that supposedly sets out to show a devil beast on a barren moor. Wasted moments are the true beast here.

Mark Searby
Mark Searby
Film critic for BBC Local Radio. Author of Al Pacino: The Movies Behind The Man. Addict of The Wire. Long-suffering supporter of NFFC.

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