Red Kingdom Rising Movie Review
Written and directed by Navin Dev
2012, 78 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on 28th April 2014
Emily Stride as Mary Ann
David Caron as Father
Silvana Maimone as Mother
Etalia Turnbull as Alice
Wendy Battersbee as Esther
Sienna Ford as Nursery Girl
First time director Navin Dev serves up a sinister rendition of Alice in Wonderland for his devilish debut Red Kingdom Rising. A twisted tale of repressed memories and childhood horror, this British frightener comes free with an overpowering sensation of gloom and unease throughout its 78 minute run time.
We follow Mary Ann, a young adult who's forced to face some forgotten terrors when she returns to her childhood home. Littered with the paraphernalia of Occult worship, every corner of her old haunt manages to trigger some disturbing memories. However we soon see beyond the pentagrams, candles and whispers of demonic prayer to the real terror that resides here: the memory of the Red King.
Presented as a disfigured anti-Christ in a crimson hood, this fantastical shrouded figure is responsible for some very mortal sins against our troubled heroine. As Mary Ann starts to piece together her disturbing past she mentally escapes into a dismal fairytale world, falling deeper and deeper with each new revelation. It's through this dark wonderland that she must come to terms with her destructive childhood and abusive parents.
For his first stint behind the camera, Dev manages to defy low-budget constraints and craft an intensely creepy world that borders on a nightmarish psychosis. Shadowy visions of the Red King's scarred face and Mary Ann's deranged witch of a mother are guaranteed to make your skin crawl and heart race. There's no denying the fact that when this Brit newcomer turns the creepy dial up to eleven, he's certainly in business.
However it's not entirely smooth sailing navigating this sinister and spine-chilling trip down memory lane. At times, Dev's script has a tendency to sound a little smarter that it actually is, a pontificating factor that dashes viewers' attention away from the eerie and leaves them checking their watches. What's more, despite some admirable supporting turns from David Caron's demented Red king, some performances, our leading lady in particular, occasionally feel a little half baked.
Although it's important to remember that these are only minor grievances. Dev manages to inject his inaugural movie with enough substance to drive these gripes to the back of your mind. This twisted trail into Mary Ann's subconscious is backlit by an intense moodiness and enough threatening imagery to plague your thoughts for hours after watching. With Red Kingdom Rising, Navin Dev has delved deep into our darkest nightmares, it'll be interesting to see where he goes next.