Tony Curran, an ex-Corrie actor and Diana Vickers – homegrown horror doesn't get much more British than Awaiting. After crashing his car in a storm, hotshot city slicker Jake (Corrie boy Rupert Hill) is taken in by creepy single dad Morris, brought to the rural farm where he lives with his daughter Lauren (X-Factor crooner Diana Vickers) – just in time for Christmas!
Christmas in September is only the start of Morris's madness, the demented dad being in possession of some seriously sinister predilections. That'd be of the cannibalistic variety, among other things. As the sozzled dad kisses his daughter firmly on the chops, the words “Merry Christmas, baby” have never felt quite so skeezy. What follows is like a quintessentially British cross between Misery and The Loved Ones (there's even a little torture with a kettle full of hot water).
Its grand musical score takes its cues from The Descent (no, let's be honest, it practically is The Descent) but Awaiting is much more low-down and melodramatic than that. It feels like a soap opera in scale and budget, its leading man not helping much in that regard. The presence of the ever-reliable Curran helps, though. Jake is so loathsome that there's plenty of schadenfreude to be had in watching the angry ginger repeatedly beat the snot out of him. Diana Vickers is surprisingly good as innocent young Lauren too, although foot fetish types may be disappointed - she spends more time wearing shoes than one might expect.
If it's tedious during the set-up, all that is forgotten during the film's last half, when Curran is allowed to let loose and some surprisingly effective gore is unleashed upon the audience. It's still melodramatic and soap opera in scale and budget, but here it works in the film's favour. That only serves to make its shocks even more, well, shocking. It's wonderfully kooky, a battle of wits between an idiot, Diana Vickers and a psychopath, with one truly ghastly bit of gore towards the end to really shake things up. And yeah, Vickers gets to sing over the end credits.
Awaiting is demented, brutal fun. Bolstered by some great performances and packing in some unexpectedly good shocks, it might just be the biggest horror surprise of the year. Maybe Christmas has come early after all.
AWAITING / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREEPLAY: MARK MURPHY / STARRING: TONY CURRAN, DIANA VICKERS, RUPERT HILL, PETER WOODWARD / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 7TH