Director: Anthony Hickox
Screenplay: Fiona Combe, Anthony Hickox & Robb Squire
Producer: Fiona Combe, Pippa Cross & Janette Day
Starring: Natalie Press, Hugh Bonneville, Matthieu Boujenah, Tamsin Egerton, Joan Plowright & Lorcan O’Toole
Year: 2010
Country: UK
Duration: 90 mins

A real shocker of a film, and for all the wrong reasons. After watching ‘Knife Edge’ I was truly surprised that in today’s economic climate such a dreadful film was given a green light.

The storyline was pretty thin. Natalie Press plays ‘Emma’ a Wall Street trader who returns to England with her French husband and her five-year-old son. The husband’s bought an old country house and, surprise, surprise, it holds a ‘terrible secret’. Hardly original from the off and, I’m sorry to say, it gets worse. The film is a series of cliché-driven set-pieces beginning with a peek at Emma at work and one of her colleagues saying that she’s ‘psychic’, right through to the pitiful ending. I was even shouting at the screen when ‘Emma’ was in the bathroom and opened the mirrored cabinet door, and sure enough when she closed it there was a ‘shock’ moment that only she could see, and when she turned around it had gone. Yawn.

Which pretty much sums up the pace of the film. Slow, hardly does it justice. About twenty minutes in I was still waiting for something of any significance to happen. What doesn’t help is that Natalie Press is, I’m sorry to say, absolutely dreadful. Pretty much every line she delivers sounds like it’s coming from a wannabe am-dram queen: weak, stilted, no emotion (or the wrong emotion) and ‘false’ – she’d learnt the lines, sure, but there was nothing behind the words. I read a post on the IMDb page suggesting that she get the ‘Worst Actress’ award. Her sister in the film – Tamsin Egerton – would have been a far better casting choice, as she can at least deliver a line convincingly. Joan Plowright was the only other notable as the doddery old house-keeper, and the brother – Andrew (Lorcan O’Toole) – sounded like he based the characterisation of his character from a class of society that he’s only ever read about, or seen on ‘Eastenders’. Terrible.

The film also contained the ubiquitous spirit of a dead child, but never really explored it in any depth so it was pretty much a throw-away narrative. The sound-FX of wind whistling through the house – regardless of where the characters were – became highly irritating and should have prompted them to go around checking all the windows were closed. I’m sure that it was an effort to convince the viewer that the house was creepy and haunted, but after a while it became an annoyance – like static, and very quickly began to grate. Less is more, boys.

The bad guy is telegraphed so early on I thought that it must be a double-bluff, but no, sadly not. And speaking of the bad guy – Hugh Bonneville was on top form, as usual, as the family friend/trust-fund administrator and is the film’s only saving grace. Until, that is, he has to become ‘evil’ and then, sadly, goes into pantomime villain territory. The ending chase sequence was laboured to the point of becoming a joke and the final despatching of Hugh’s character was neither stylish nor clever, despite the fact that I’m sure the director thought it was.

It would only have taken a small nudge to make this a spoof and then it might have worked. As it stands though, the knife edge is dull and rusty.

Review by Andy Goodman

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