In this day and age, everyone needs to get paid.

So, if you try and stiff someone (or in this case, a group of people) out of their hard-earned cash, prepare to accept the consequences.

That is the central premise of Concrete Plans, a film that is certainly more dark thriller than horror, but that genre quibble does not detract in any way from a punchy, tense stand-off of a film that really dials up the nastiness in the final act.

The set-up is a simple one – a group of five builders turn up at a manor house in the Welsh countryside, tasked with renovating the property by an upstart former army chap (Kevin Guthrie).

He demands (for reasons unknown to the builders) that the work must be completed within three months, but that the group will be handsomely paid for their efforts if they hit the target.

As time goes by though, the workers realise that not only may their employer not quite be as flush as first appeared, but he also seemingly has no problem in delaying their payment – perhaps even indefinitely.

Are the group – two Welsh labourers, a Scot who is on the run from some violent crime, a young chav and an East European pining for his daughter – going to take this deception lying down? Probably not – but what are they going to do about it…

Director (and writer) William Jewell deserves an enormous amount of credit for the restraint shown in the first half of the film. The characters are given plenty of time to breathe (although there are certainly ominous signs and foreboding) and are decently fleshed out, meaning when the shit hits the fan in the second half the audience has built up some empathy.

The workers themselves are a mixed bunch, from Charlie Palmer Rothwell’s effectively scummy Steve, to Chris Reilly’s threatening Jim, to William Thomas’ sarcastic Dave, Goran Bogdan’s Viktor and Steve Speirs’ Bob, trying desperately hard to keep both employer and employees happy.

Also thrown into the mix is Amber Rose Revah, turning up as army chap Simon’s wife Amy and making the cocktail all the more dangerous.

While the film certainly takes its time for the opening hour or so, things get chaotic in the last thirty minutes, with nasty violence and bloodshed to the fore. Crucially though, Concrete Plans stays the right side of believability, with loyalties stretched to breaking point but never becoming outlandish.

Also – and this may not matter to most – the film has some wonderful scenery, which made me pine a bit for my homeland of Wales.

A harsh, bitter tale of the haves and the have nots, Concrete Plans proves a refreshing surprise.

Concrete Plans will be released on digital HD on 23 November

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: Concrete Plans
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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