Directed by: Storm Ashwood
Written by: Storm Ashwood, Tessa Alana
Produced by: Clement Dunn, Cathy Flannery
Starring: Megan Drury, Will McDonald, Jak Ruwald.
After a visually stunning trailer, I was more then ready to watch The School, an Australian supernatural horror thriller by award-winning director Storm Ashwood, but I have to admit I was slightly disappointed.
Amy is a doctor, wife and grieving mother. After spending two years by her comatose son, David’s side, Amy falls into her own twisted world of obsession and denial. Blocking out everything and everyone around her while the walls of the hospital she neglects begin to fall apart. She begins to awaken in what seems to be an abandoned old school, where Amy finds herself a prisoner to a hoard of displaced cultish and feral kids trapped in a hostile supernatural purgatory for children.
As the stakes get higher, Amy becomes an unwilling surrogate mother and must try and escape an impending evil. But terror ensues and Amy must find her way out, fighting against the demonic, supernatural creatures and ultimately her very own demons.
Despite the catchy plot and stunning visuals, The School fails to offer a sense of place, making the hospital where her son remains, and her workplace, the same site where a school used to be.
Filmed at the Gladesville Mental Asylum, founded in the late 1830s, the film’s location is also the oldest facility of the kind in Australia. Regrettably, the unusual punishment of its patients was a normality, including the use of electric shock therapy making both patient and employee deaths common.
There are 1,228 unmarked patient graves on-site providing an unsettling place to capture the supernatural horror elements in the film.
Storm Ashwood has lead a successful directing career thus far. His short film The Wish was not only nominated for Best Director and Best Script in the SASAs, but was also screened in festivals around the world including The Australian Film Festival, The LA Film Festival, and the most prestigious, The Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival in Paris. Storm was nominated for an AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Awards) for best short screenplay as well as having overwhelming success in the festival circuit, with an array of awards and nominations including Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Foreign film and several Merit awards.
His feature film script A Search For Hope was a runner up for the 21st Century ScreenWriting awards in 2007.
Early in 2012 Storm’s feature film script and teaser for THE SCHOOL was included as one of the Top 10 Finalists for the MTV Optus180 project.
The School is an eye-catcher and an entertaining ride for those who are looking for a thrill. Personally, I look forward to see what else Storm Ashwood has in store.
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