Dorothy Mills (2008) Review

6 out of 10 Skulls
Written by: TerrorCorner   

I have always maintained that it's hard to do a decent ghost story without resorting to gore.  I've found that the British and Irish film industry are the ones that come closest to pulling it off.  The film, "Dorothy Mills" is an excellent example of that.

Carice Van Houten is Dublin Psychiatrist Jane Morton who is suffering from the loss of her husband and son.  She is soon assigned the case of Dorothy Mills (played by Jenn Murray)- a girl in a small village accused of attempting to strangle a baby.  Upon her arrival, Jane discovers that there is a dark secret in the small village's past... and Dorothy begins speaking in the voices of other people...

I won't shy from the truth- I love ghost stories, and "Dorothy Mills" is one of the best ones out there.  From the setting, through the storyline and characters, to the suspense and scares, this movie sets out to tell an engaging and errie tale- and does it well.

The small, rural setting, with it's bleak surroundings helped to build a sense of isolation and removal from the normal state of things.  The director (Agnes Merlet) uses earthtones and grey tones to give this film a desolate atmosphere and a feeling of unreality.  When you look at the slightly off kilter stone buildings, you can feel that things are not "right" in this town.

While the premise of the movie is pretty simple and straight forward, the details grow naturally and are weaved together to create a cohesive and smooth flowing narrative that develops the characters and maintains your interest until the end.  My only complaints in regards to story are that the "twist" at the end is a little predictable, and the pace is sluggish at times, though it does pick up near the end.

The camera work, while not complex is still effective in setting up the scene, and creating the right mood in conjunction with everything else.  There are some beautifully shot sequences- all of which help move the story forward, rather than being there simply because it'd be cool.

I have to say that I was quite impressed with the acting and the characters in this film.  Even though you know something's not quite "normal" with Dorothy Mills, Jenn Murray manages to evoke such a combination of innocence, and confusion about her own life, that you can't help but come to like and care about her.  Carice Van Houten's performance is equally good, and makes you curious as to what exactly is going to happen to her character as the story progresses.

Given all of these elements, I can't help but say that I would definately recommend watching this film at least once.

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