Directed By: Andrew Spencer
Written By: Andrew Spencer
Starring: Ian Brooker, Peter Wight, Louise Paris, Alison Belbin, Erin Connolly
UK Certification: 15
RRP: £10.99 (+ P&P)
Running Time: 89 minutes
Distributor: Rookery Pictures
It was a pretty innocuous retweet. As with most of our Twitter feeds the majority tends to scroll through like the ticker on a rolling news channel with us paying sporadic attention to it. For some reason this caught my eye – a RT by MJ Simpson saying how The Case of Eddie Brewer was available to buy. I know the release schedules like an evangelist knows the bible, so a film I didn’t know about instantly piqued my interest. After some digging it turns out that this movie in question is an independent British horror film which is being self-distributed in the UK. Since its premiere at the Flatpack Festival, Birmingham in March 2012 it’s been on the festival circuit for the last 18 months picking up six awards on both sides of the Atlantic. It was hard not to be intrigued.
The film begins with a hi-vis jacketed electrician attending what appears to be a power shortage in the depths of an as yet unnamed building. Before long we see the expected expression of horror accompanied by his torch falling to the ground. It’s a fairly standard opening sequence, but as we move on following the title card the introduction of our main character Eddie Brewer (Brooker) gives us the hope of something a little more intriguing.
Eddie is being followed by a documentary film crew, and when we meet him he’s guiding them around his house as he demonstrates the history of a variety of trinkets that adorn his home. He’s old school – no new-fangled gadgets, no gimmicks, nor a swagger either. He has the demeanour of a lived-in schoolteacher with his checked shirt, pullover and beige jacket bemoaning the younger generation with utterances like “I’ve never heard anyone under 40 say anything interesting”. It’s not long before Eddie and the TV crew get to the building that featured at the start of the film – Rookery House, an eighteenth century construction that’s currently in use by the local council.
The electrician – Ray Riddle (Peter Wight) tells Eddie that upon heading down to the cellar he heard a female crying, possibly a child. Eddie counters this recollection with questions attempting to derail Ray’s story by suggesting a number of possibilities that could logically explain the experience that he had, but Ray is adamant about what he heard. Eddie heads down himself to investigate but with nothing suspicious he heads home to conduct some research. It’s not long however before another incident takes place, and once more Eddie heads over to the potentially haunted cellar. This time he has a supernatural experience himself – which alone represents a breakthrough, but with another case involving a young girl obsessed with Grimaldi the clown, the two situations combined yield something that Eddie could never have prepared himself for.
Made for £10,000, the idea for The Casebook of Eddie Brewer dates back to 2001 when Andrew Spencer shot a ten minute comedy entitled Eddie Brewer P.I. Its current incarnation loses most of the comedy, developing into a typically British ghost story that could easily fit snugly alongside such atmospheric chillers like Dead of Night (1972) or Sleepwalker (1984). The key to the film’s success is undoubtedly the performance of Ian Brooker who brings a level of passion and authenticity to his character while providing Eddie with an air of fragility having experienced the loss of his wife in a house fire a number of years previously.
Andrew Spencer has created a little gem of a movie here. His script (followed nearly to the letter) manages to flesh out the key characters in the film, while the scenes of ghostly activity are shot in a manner that makes the tension palpable while belying the budgetary constraints. My favourite British horror film so far this year is The Borderlands, and coincidentally – shot two years prior – The Casebook of Eddie Brewer has a few similarities such as mature leads, handheld camera work and occasional dark humour. I only mention this as that’s the level this film almost achieves, so I just hope that the reputation of this film continues to spread and it continues to get the acclaim that it very much deserves.
8 out of 10
While there are no extras on the DVD, the film does come with a 28 page booklet with musings from writer / director Andy Spencer, lead actor Ian Brooker and co-producer Jamie Robertson. There’s also a wealth of trivia with details of the genesis, the production and other fascinating facts behind the film and the locations used.
The Casebook of Eddie Brewer can be purchased at Amazon – CLICK HERE
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