The Moor movie poster

The Moor

In theaters June 14, 2024

Rated

, ,

118 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , ,

Haunted by the death of her childhood friend, Claire (Sophia La Porta) joins Bill (David Edward-Robertson) as he hunts for his son’s remains across the expansive unforgiving peat bog that is The Moor (2023).

Claire will never forget when her best friend Danny (Dexter Sol Ansell) disappeared from a corner convenience store 25 years ago. She’ll also never forgive herself for turning her back and leaving him alone during their botched heist of sweets. Danny was never found and the suspected killer is set for release, receiving a light sentence due to police mishandling of the case. Bill wants Claire to use her podcast to engage the public for clues, as well as to document their search. Bill is positive that Danny and other missing children are buried in a nearby moor, a sprawling and fallow bog that requires sure footing and a licensed guide to navigate. He has come by his gleaned information through local psychics, Eleanore (Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips) and her father, Alex (Mark Peachey) having zero faith in the mainstream media or the police. Inhospitable conditions, marshy sinkholes, and mysterious monoliths that draw sheep and spirits, make for a treacherous and surreal search, and Claire begins to understand that The Moor appreciates what it is given, and is very reluctant to give it back without a price.

As far as supernatural thrillers steeped in folklore go, The Moor doesn’t offer anything particularly groundbreaking, and it’s hard to say if it works better as a crime drama or a moody paranormal expedition. The background of the “Summer of Fear” as told through Claire’s interviews of the survivors and residents of the close-knit village gives weight to a story that could otherwise be told through a montage of newspaper clippings or an endless monologue. It keeps the pace brisk, even allowing for personalities and expectations to be conveyed through other characters. The paranormal aspect is far less cohesive, with psychics, geomancy, visitations, and of course the standing stone in the Moor. The buildup of the crime aspect only to have the mystical intrude and undermine the entire case, feels like a war of writers, neither having enough for a full feature.

Horror based on English folklore can be nebulous, even at the best of times, as superstition is woven with history, and modern life has tea with rural traditions. Not having a solid starting point for ancient carved stones or sentient sheep, The Moor leaves the viewer adrift in a story that rushes to an abrupt and confusing ending.

If you have an ear for the accent and love to get lost in atmospheric surroundings that need no reason to kill you, you may very well enjoy The Moor, and if you figure out the ending, come back and fill me in.

The Moor is unrated, but we can call it a PG-13 for English swears, child abduction, short falls and sudden stops, ethereal nightmares and death by possession.

The Moor is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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