THE MOOR (2023)
World Premiere FrightFest Saturday 26th August
Yorkshire 1996: In the opening scene a young boy is snatched from a corner shop, leaving behind Claire, his slightly older friend. The titles then do a good job of sketching in the back story of several children going missing, the police searching the moors and someone being jailed for 25 years.
Present day – the grown-up Claire is sitting in a café with the dad of Danny – her kidnapped friend, who was never found. Bill, the father, is pleading with her to help in his obsession with finding him up on the bleak moors after all these years. She has a podcast (doesn’t everyone these days) which he believes may be useful in his quest of getting news out about what he is doing.
So Claire reluctantly agrees and begins interviewing those involved back then (including Bernard Hill as one of the original investigators). This cleverly helps to fill in what happened back then.
She also agrees to go with Bill to the inhospitable and remote location on the moors where he believes he might find something. He is searching in a very specific location given to him by Alex, a douser, who has used his skills to pinpoint where to look. They discover a shoe. Then Alex involves his daughter Eleanor who has even stronger psychic abilities and has a very visceral reaction to the found object – but what will they discover when they all decide to head to the remote and hard to get to area which she identifies on a map?
Whilst this is slow to start this kicks in about an hour into proceedings – there is a very creepy and highly effective seance sequence and the music by Nir Perlman adds to the mood created throughout. Things start to get freaky – you have ancient stones and symbols scattered around, rolling fog, mist and rain, muddy peat bogs, something on the moor and grief driven obsession. This is well acted but takes a touch too long to get where it is going and ultimately, whilst it successfully builds an atmosphere and has several eerie parts and an unexpected ending, it doesn’t completely add up to a satisfying whole.