On face value, The Suffering appears to be just another low budget shocker, utilising remote locations and dark attics to create cheap thrills, but investigate further into its creepy surroundings and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how gripping and out of the ordinary it is.
Although the cast are relatively unknown and unproven, there’s an assured quality to the performances, particularly the benevolent estate owner played by Phil Amico. The character’s soothing presence perfectly wrong-foots us (and the lead) into a sense of security and comfort in the situation, allowing us to be still shocked by later events, even though we know something’s amiss.
The pace of the film may not be to everyone’s taste, particularly as the story develops with a slow burn, revealing even more twisted elements as it goes along. Fans of more measured, psychological horror will be in their element for the first half of the film, though. The shocks do come later on and are all the more effective for the build-up.
Seasoned viewers will probably work out what’s going on mid-way through the film, but that doesn’t necessarily spoil the enjoyment of the denouement. The Suffering is incredibly well acted, beautifully shot (making great use of the locations) and manages to build up an eerie atmosphere from the very start. There are times when it wanders from the purely psychological to more tangible threats, and it comes under threat of losing its way, but thankfully, it doesn’t stray too far into the predictable and when it’s not throwing monsters into the mix, it’s a fascinating and absorbing thriller.
THE SUFFERING / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ROBERT HAMILTON / SCREENPLAY: MARCO V. SCOLA, ROBERT HAMILTON / STARRING: PHIL AMICO, NICK APOSTOLIDES, LIZ CHRISTMAS, ELIZABETH DAWLES / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 26TH