Written and directed by Fionn and Toby Watts, Playhouse is a brooding, captivating haunted house (well, castle) film that shows the great potential of the Watts brothers.
Jack Travis (William Holstead) is a playwright who has bought a grand old Scottish castle for him and his belligerent daughter, Bee (Grace Courtney). Jack is planning on using the castle to create an immersive walk-through play. What he doesn’t realise is that the castle has a morbid history that will soon take over his mind-set. When neighbours Callum and Samantha (James Rottger and Julie Higginson) get involved and things get much worse.
The Watts brothers make splendid use of the glorious location, and the castle itself - actually just a very large, impressive house - is suitably creepy, with brick-lined spiral staircases and stories of bricked-in bodies and tortured spirits. Andy Toovey’s cinematography adds plenty to the atmosphere, too, with some spectacular shots, particularly towards the climax. The few visual effects on show may be a tad generic, but that - and some of the more histrionic acting - can be forgiven due to the low budget. That said, it’s certainly an engaging story and offers much for fans who like a haunted house film with a difference.
Playhouse is Fionn and Toby’s debut feature and certainly shows plenty of flair, we’ll certainly be interested to see what they come up with next.