Sarah Dekker (Courtney McKeon) lives with her parents. She has a wonderful boyfriend, Shane (Fiach Kunz) who she adores and despite her religious mother’s disapproval, she indulges in frequent and passionate sex.
Then one day Sarah feels sick, she goes to the doctor and her worst fear is confirmed – she’s pregnant. Scared for her future and after her mother (Noelle Clarke) finds out and her boyfriend dumps her, Sarah turns to her best friend, Davet (Paul Fitzgerald) so they can go to England and she can have an abortion.
However, while recovering and dealing with the trauma of the abortion, Sarah starts having hallucinations that make her realise that the loss of a baby is not the only thing that’s haunting her.
The Perished is a slow burn horror movie inspired by real life events, written and directed by Paddy Murphy. An opening passage informs the audience of a time in Ireland where pregnant women were denied the right to choose what they did with their bodies, and that many turned to extreme measures, which led to a mass grave of unborn children uncovered outside a refuge for pregnant women.
The Perished attempts to tell the story of one such woman who is forced to make a decision that will affect the rest of her life.
Guiding the audience through the film slowly, it soon becomes apparent that Sarah is experiencing things that may just be a figment of her imagination. However, the audience may think they are experiencing it too as there are small, scary noises and fleeting glances at what lies in the corner of Sarah’s mind to tell the audience that something’s coming.
It’s only until about halfway through when the full horror of her nightmare comes to light and the audience may suspect something far more supernatural is happening.
The script is very well written and the cast do a great job of connecting with the audience and with each other as they talk about their experiences, with the script even managing to put an even-handed discussion about abortion and its consequences amongst the scenes of horror.
However, by the finale, when the true villain is revealed, The Perished goes full on horror undermining the previous discussions.
Perhaps early on there should have been a decision to either make the movie a kitchen sink drama or a horror, because by the end the horror inflected drama doesn’t work as well as the filmmakers may have liked.
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