Written and directed by Russell Owen
Eric Black (Tom Hughes) is a man with a troubled past who, in search of inner peace and resolution, accepts a job offer as a shepherd on an otherwise uninhabited Scottish island. The location is a remote wilderness, and if these few words of description hint at Jack Nicholson’s performance for Stanley Kubrick as Jack Torrance, then you won’t be far off the mark. But while there is much about Shepherd (even the opening helicopter shot of a car driving into the remote hills) that hints at Stephen King’s masterpiece, this movie lacks The Shining’s shine.
As Black comes tries to come to terms with his past, he is tormented by scenes with his devoutly Christian mother (passable work from Greta Scacchi) and an enigmatic local fisherwoman (Kate Dickie), whose faith is far more dark. Ultimately the narrative here is too focussed on Black’s self-indulgent introspection, rather than a terrifying psychological horror. If there were less of his soul-searching and more (and better) graphically visual excitement, then the film would have been immeasurably improved.
Wags may spot a brief nod to The Italian Job, while a field full of crucified sheep did little more than amusingly suggest The Slaughtered Lamb inn from An American Werewolf In London.To its credit the film’s aerial and drone photography of the Scottish and Welsh landscapes is gorgeous, easily passing as a promo for those two countries’ tourist boards. But as a worthwhile horror movie, this Shining-lite, lacks polish.
Shepherd will be available on Blu-ray and Digital Download from 21st February