Having been a hit at this year’s After Dark film festival, Fertile Ground hits the rental shelves courtesy of their Originals DVD strand.

In many ways a neat companion piece to current big-screen hit Insidious, this offering proves once again that you do not need a mega-budget or a ‘name’ cast to create an atmospheric movie.

Far from perfect (mainly due to pacing issues), this haunted house chiller still has plenty going for it and is well worth a look.

Things kick off on a real downer, with dress designer Emily Weaver (Leisha Hailey) suffering a miscarriage.

Having been told she can no longer have children, Emily and artist husband Nate (Gale Harold) decide to quit the city and head to the countryside, with Gale having (very conveniently) just found out a huge property (vacant no less) actually belongs to his family.

In they move and everything seems great, until Emily starts seeing various apparitions, things begin to go bump in the night and hubby Gale takes a turn for the psychotic.

Even more bizarrely, Emily finds herself pregnant once more, which opens up a whole new dynamic.

Could the house be haunted? Could Gale’s relatives from bygone decades perhaps not be the upstanding folks they were assumed to be?

I think we all know the answers here, but the positive thing about Fertile Ground is that the predictability does not harm the film as a piece of work.

Yes at times the whole thing is very slow, but that emphasis on characterisation adds a layer of depth that you do not get in a lot of ‘here one second, killed the next’ offerings.

The acting is solid enough (although things do get a little out of hand in the conclusion), the direction from Adam Geirasch (who also co-wrote) is perfectly fine and the overall tone is well judged.

I am not going to start shouting about this one from the rooftops, but there are far, far worse ways of spending your time.

RELEASED MAY 23

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.