Playhouse: Review


Jack Travis (William Holstead) is a famous playwright whose tales of horror inspired by history bring a fright to delighted audiences. Feeling a need to get away from it all, Jack and his daughter, Bee (Grace Courtney) go to Scotland to stay in a castle where Jack can get immersed in Scotland’s history.

Bee is less than happy about her situation, moving up into the middle of nowhere she thinks there’s nothing to do and thinks that living in spooky old castle is bound to drive away any potential friends. However, after making some friends and playing a game inside the old castle, Bee starts to feel the influence of what lies behind the castle walls.

Jenny (Helen Mackay) and Callum Andrews (James Rottger) are a couple going through a rough patch in their relationship, but after Bee invites them both over for dinner, Callum sees an opportunity to pick the brains of a famous horror writer so that he can do some writing of his own.

The trouble is that the Andrews have no idea that Jack has become possessed by one of the ghosts that lives in the castle and that Bee is going through something far worse which may mean a huge transformation.

Playhouse is the directorial and writing debut of Fionn and Toby Watts. The Watts Brothers, perhaps influenced by demonic ghost stories and maybe a little of The Shining have created a slow burn horror that makes its audience wait right until the very end for the full extent of the scares to take place – and it’s worth the wait.

Never really showing what’s happening to Bee until they absolutely have to, The Watts Brothers know exactly how to keep an audience in suspense and entertaining while they wait.

The cast all give great performances, particularly Holstead who once possessed stays on the right side of Nicolas Cage for eccentricity, but thankfully never pushes it too far. Also, Mackay and Rottger play a believable couple and their parts weave seamlessly into the slightly outlandish plot. Playhouse is a ghost story with a cast that make their roles work in a plot that could have been too campy under the wrong directors.

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