Friday, June 15, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.166: The Rizen

We return once more to Cold War Lovecraftiana with 2017’s The Rizen: a low budget British sci-fi horror movie set in a underground military installation (Kelvedon Hatch) in the 1950s, and concerning the aftermath of a secret programme involving experimentation with an occult physics, sponsored by a sinister British government department. Needless to say, there is a heavy, if not overt, Lovecraftian overtone to the movie - and both the premise and setting of The Rizen held the promse of something very unique; in addition to which, the film also includes cameos by some very solid British actors such as Ade Edmonson, Sally Phillips, Tom Goodman and Julian Rhind-Tutt.

Unfortunately, these occasional star turns are not enough to lift the acting skills of the principle players, whose abilities for far too much of the film seem unable to rise above the level of a rather provincial amatuer dramatics society; the setting of Kelvedon Hatch is also underused, focusing on the same two or three corridors for most of the film. In addition to which, the action scenes are not terribly exciting, and the horror elements are handled poorly. In many of the above respects, it seems that the initial promise of The Rizen was always going to be undermined by its low budget.

In fairness, though, it is worth a watch as a featuring something of an original setting for a piece of Lovecraftian horror - and apparently a sequel is in production (hopefully with a bigger budget).

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