Neatly working its way into that file labelled ‘much better than you expect’, Awaiting is a dark, twisted, brutal little tale.

A fresh slant on the backwoods tropes so prevalent in a lot of modern genre cinema, writer/director Mark Murphy has given us a lo-fi, stripped down tale that for the most part hits the spot.

Awaiting focuses on the father-daughter team of Morris and Lauren (Tony Curran and Diana Vickers), who live out in the middle of nowhere, seemingly keeping themselves to themselves.

Lauren has led a pretty isolated existence it would appear, having been home schooled and with little (or nothing) in the way of friends.

Morris on the other hand appears to be something of an odd-jobs man, often surly and treated with suspicion by those living nearby.

The pair’s ‘peace’ is disturbed when Morris comes across car-crash victim Jake (Rupert Hill), taking him back to their farmhouse to help him recuperate.

Or so it appears at first, but the film will reveal that daddy may have other plans for Jake, and that this may not be the first time he has ‘welcomed’ strangers into his home….

Although other characters pop up every now and again, this is very much a three-hander, with most of the action taking place in the family’s ramshackle home.

As such, Awaiting pretty much lives or dies by the performances – and they all deliver.

Hill warms to the task after something of a shaky opening, while Vickers (yep, that former X-Factor starlet) parlays her good looks into an effective image of innocence, coaxing the audience into an effective guessing game as to just how much she knows of her father’s nefarious activities.

But the star here is Curran – a simmering, sinister, psychotic presence that teeters on the brink of violence pretty much for the film’s entire running time.

Director Murphy keeps a sure hand on proceedings, taking us to some pretty dark places, while also allowing the film to breathe when necessary.

Awaiting also delivers up some eye-watering gore – the film is not awash with bloodshed by any means, but when the violence does come along it certainly hurts.

In fact, the film would get an even better rating if not for stumbling at the last, a chaotic finale that seems at odds with the deliberate build-up.

But Awaiting remains an effective watch, and turns out to be one of the pleasant surprises of the festival.

Frightfest London review: Awaiting
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

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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 three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle