“We’ve all been under a tremendous amount of stress lately.”
I must admit this line made me laugh. It’s a slightly incongruous spot of light relief in an eerie, oppressive trailer. The threat of witchcraft and devilry is everywhere, its forbidden richness contrasting with the plain puritan clothes of the overtly religious community where the film is set. And it’s 1973!
A mix of religious paranoia and folklore horror, Thomas Robert Lee’s film has been described as a haunting and unflinching tale of vengeance. Here’s the synopsis:
Set against the autumnal palette of harvest season in 1973, The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw explores the disturbed bond between Audrey, an enigmatic young woman, and Agatha, her domineering ‘mother’, who live secretly as occultists on the outskirts of a remote Protestant village. As the community is besieged by a pestilence of unknown origin, children, fields, and livestock begin to die — yet the Earnshaw farm remains strangely unaffected. As mass hysteria sets in the village, the townsfolk commence accusations against Audrey and Agatha of witchcraft.
“I wanted to tell a story about legacy, and to specifically explore it within the context of a folk horror narrative,” says writer-director Thomas Robert Lee. “The community grows increasingly desperate as their circumstances grow dire.
“In reality, the pandemic appears to have amplified hatred and xenophobia, or at least the voices of those spewing hate speech. Obviously there is a world of difference between my screenplay and the very real ramifications of the pandemic, but the similarities, however surface-level they may be, have certainly been on my mind these past months.”
The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw had its world premiere at Fantasia Fest 2020 and will be releasing in limited US cinemas on Friday, 2 October, 2020. It’s also out on major VOD/Digital platforms beginning Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
The film stars Catherine Walker, Jared Abrahamson, Hannah Emily Anderson,Geraldine O’Rawe, Don McKellar and Sean McGinley – with Jessica Reynolds as Audrey Earnshaw.