A British thriller, released in the cinema on a Friday before being released on DVD the following Monday, and dealing with child abuse. To say I didn’t have high expectations for The Holding would be an understatement. But, as I try to be fair to every film I watch & have a strong belief in smaller films being the lifeblood of cinema, I had to see whether it was any good or not.
Cassie Naylor has a secret. 8 months ago she killed her abusive husband, Dean, and buried his body in a grave on their farm holding. Now the farm is struggling to make ends meet and her relationship with her two daughters, 8 year old Amy & 16 year old Hannah, is strained at best.
Cassie’s situation isn’t helped by the increasing pressure being put upon her by the neighbouring farmer, Karston, who is beginning to make more & more demands that Cassie not only sells the farm to him but also marries him.
But the unexpected arrival of Aden, a mysterious stranger who says that he is an old friend of Dean, sends events onto a different path. At first his help is appreciated by Cassie but more and more it seems that he has sinister ulterior motives that endanger her entire family and everyone who is close to them.
When I got the press release for The Holding, I thought I knew what I was in for – and I’ll be honest when I say that it wasn’t something I was really looking forward to. I made an assumption that the film was going to concentrate a lot on the child abuse part of the story, which is something I’m never totally comfortable with when it comes to “entertainment” but I was totally wrong. That is only a very little part of this tale, and it is actually a very effective “cuckoo in the nest” story, set against the English farming countryside, with a very neat “Western” feeling.
The way the film has been shot, and the clothes worn by a lot of the characters, evokes cowboy films without it feeling like it’s been shoehorned in or overly out of place – none of the clothes feel like something that wouldn’t be worn by the characters.
Vincent Regan is utterly convincing as Aden. In one scene he seems perfectly amiable, with only the best interests of [female farmer] & her family at heart & then in the next he’s a simmering mass of hatred & violence, and is truly chilling at times.
Thankfully, this performance is coupled with a fantastic performance from the who play Cassie & her daughter Hannah, Kierston Wareing & Skye Lourie respectively. If they were not believable then the whole thing would’ve fallen apart, simply because we wouldn’t have cared if they were in danger or believed they were in trouble. Thankfully this isn’t the case, as they are really convincing in their roles & you can’t help but care what happens to them.
This is a surprisingly well crafted thriller, with some truly chilling & fantastic performances that keep you on the edge of your seat. Susan Jacobson, the director, makes the jump from directing shorts to a full blown feature effortlessly in delivering a fine thriller, which mixes Hollywood Westerns with the remoteness of the Lake District.
Never predictable, this is a well crafted & effective British thriller. The remote setting lends itself totally to the atmosphere & the performances of the cast do justice to the story.
Once again, I’m happy to say that this British thriller is as effective & gripping as anything I’ve seen in recent months and is well worth checking out.