Review: Young, High and Dead / Cert: 18 / Director: Luke Brady, Jonathan Brady, Daniel Fenton, Thabo Mhlatshwa / Screenplay: Luke Brady / Starring: Hannah Tointon, Louisa Lytton, Philip Barantini, Matthew Stathers / Release Date: Available Now
A group of friends, celebrating impending nuptials, head to the woods for a weekend of camping, boozing and getting well and truly stoned. This film, as the old saying goes, does what it says on the tin. When our heroes inadvertently pitch up at the impromptu burial site of a murdered young child, we have the recipe for a traditional slasher bloodbath on our hands. Only this time, with ex soap opera actors.
Tointon (Hollyoaks) and Lytton (gangster's daughter Ruby Allen in EastEnders) are our scream queens, and a fairly solid job they do of it, too. With the film working on a very low budget scale, we can't hold it to the same standards as your average slick Hollywood slasher, but it does beg the question 'how cheap is it to hire an ex-soap actress (or two) anyway?' Whatever the cast were paid, they were worth it, since they carry the film past its dizzying handheld shaky-cam opener. By the time Gary shows up with his big box of drugs, we were hooked enough to see Young, High and Dead through to its conclusion.
Detractors of no-budget horror will no doubt be unimpressed, but the more resilient fans of indie cinema should find something to enjoy. Tointon, who acquit herself well enough in The Children, is the best of the bunch here, although everyone is a cut above the usual amateurs who tend to populate this sort of thing. We’re sure there'll be plenty who disagree once they hear Gary's awful Brummy accent though, and it would be nice if the film could kill off a few of its characters a bit quicker.
Well-written, creepy and with a startlingly, authentically nasty streak, it's inherently British (you don't get much more English than chugging cider and Kronenberg beer in the woods) and refreshingly not terrible.