There are slow burns and then there are features that take forever to get where they’re going. Actually, I would argue that this movie really felt like it wanted to stay a family drama of anguish and grief and only felt obligated to give us a sliver of horror in its last act. If you can’t tell by now, this one was a disappointment. I don’t think it’s a slow burn when you’re not really building anything. Now, perhaps it just went over my head – I just felt regret by the time it was over. I don’t hate this film, I just feel it was just trying to fit into the horror genre without setting the correct tone for it.

Martyrs Lane (2021) was written and directed by Ruth Platt. Leah (Kiera Thompson) lives in a strained relationship with her mother Sarah (Denise Gough) who, either consciously or unconsciously resents her while she grieves for her late daughter. And that’s the explanation for the most part of the film, until Leah starts seeing the ghost of a little girl (Sienna Sayer). That’s the supernatural part, which almost seems like an afterthought. Other than that we see Leah trying to go through life being tormented by her older sister, ignored by her mother and having conversations with a ghost.

I concede that I have developed a very low tolerance for films where characters suffer mental anguish, neglect and rejection from their own kin, but I found this film just stressful. Yes, the characters deliver decent performances but half the conflict seems to have happened before the story of the film starts and that’s actually the crux of most of it, leaving the audience to figure out where the fear is. There are a few typical jump scares of the classic dream variety that really don’t do much to make it a solid horror film.

Not recommended. Perhaps it will find an audience, but this one was disappointing. It was categorized as horror and as such I found it dull. Drama it has in spades, but I wasn’t really engaged by the neglectful mother that grieves one lost daughter but resents the living one. Decent performances, but I wasn’t really invested in any of the characters. It really feels like the tone is completely off and the filmmakers just wanted a drama instead of a horror movie.

That will do for now.