Director: Oliver Frampton
Screenplay: Oliver Frampton, James Hall
Starring: Clem Tibber, Shaun Dingwall, Elarica Johnson
Duration: 89m mins
BBFC Certification: 15
Do you ever watch a film and when it ends, you can’t decide whether you enjoyed it or not? This is exactly what happened to me when the credits rolled on director Oliver Frampton’s debut The Forgotten. It’s definitely a promising debut and I think Frampton is one to watch, but the film just didn’t grab me like maybe it should have. For a ghost story, there are very few ghostly encounters, in fact if you edited out these moments you would have a rather grim drama about living on a rundown council estate – imagine Ken Loach directing Paranormal Activity!
The film follows Tommy (Clem Tibber), an awkward teenager who has to go and live with his Dad (the always excellent Shaun Dingwall). Mum is no longer around, which is a mystery which Tommy later attempts to solve, and Dad has recently been laid off, resulting in them squatting in a condemned housing estate.
Before long, Tommy begins to hear noises from next door – footsteps, voices and tapping on the wall. Along with his new found friend, Carmen, he enters the neighbouring flat which may be a dangerous mistake.
The production design and cinematography are obviously inspired by J-Horror, especially the housing estate recalling the one in Dark Water. The flat Tommy and his Dad live in is dark and claustrophobic, even seeming subterranean. Being a squat, there is no electricity, so they use camping lights to see, which is an effective way of building atmosphere.
The final act is where the film fails for me – the attempt to forge a twist ending is forced and actually becomes predictable and anti-climatic. Keeping this simpler and not so convoluted would have been in keeping with the rest of the film. That said, The Forgotten is an interesting take on a well-worn genre which is worth investing the time in, just don’t expect a classic.
A word of warning – the DVD cover is extremely misleading!
Metrodome is distributing The Forgotten on DVD.