The Wake: Short Film Review

The Wake: Short Film Review

‘The Wake’ is a 10-minute Irish Horror Short written and directed by Rik Gordon. When a relative passes away, a couple, Peter and Claire (played by Finlay Cormack and Kathleen Bridget Murphy), reunite with their families to mourn. However, the traditions held by the family are anything but normal.

This was a film that I had heard of back in 2016, when I met one of the crew members at London’s Frightfest Horror Film Festival. After speaking to them, I’ve been looking forward to the short since then.  

In only under 10 minutes, this film packs a punch with its audience and does a lot with its short running time. The lead actor/actress, Finlay Cormack and Kathleen Bridget Murphy, are great and have fantastic onscreen chemistry. Their relationship is believable, making the twist near the end even more surprising. The rest of the cast are also fantastic.



While the family appear friendly on the outside, it’s obvious they’re hiding something, thus creating an air of tension between the characters. This something is definitely shocking when it’s revealed too! What makes it work is not only the build up in tension, but the lack of hints to the reveal, making it unexpected. The practical effects of the zombies are great and even a little gooey, making the design grotesque.

The decision to use make-up and practical effects is an aspect that I appreciate, considering the artform is usually overshadowed by CGI. 

The soundtrack is eerie but minimalistic; it’s only there when necessary and to help build up the tension of the situation. It sounds similar to the 2017 horror game ‘Bendy and the Ink Machine’ but accompanies the visuals beautifully.

Overall, ‘The Wake’ is a fantastic short film that keeps you guessing. It takes an unexpected turn, but one that I love. The cast are all fantastic and, while the lead actor Finlay Cormack has a moment of an emotionless performance during one scene, it never took me out of the film. 

‘The Wake’ is available on YouTube and Amazon UK and USA, so I highly recommend checking this mysterious short film out!


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Megan’s taste in films are interesting: her favourite films are ‘Space Jam’, Studio Ghibli’s ‘The Cat Returns’, as well as horror films ‘Saw’, ‘Drag Me To Hell’ and ‘Ju-On: The Grudge’. When she’s not watching films, she’ll be spending precious hours playing ‘Crash Bandicoot’.

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