Directed by WW Jones & Luke Skinner.

Starring Struan Rodger, Johann Myers, Finbar Lynch.

Horror, UK, 78 minutes.


Reviewed as part of Arrow Video FrightFest Digital Edition 2.


As plots go a bunch of gangsters hiding out in a disused house after a bloody robbery may ring as all too familiar. However, this debut film from WW Jones and Luke Skinner manages to make the most of its familiar premise and limited budget with this slow burn gangster story with ghosts. Or is it a ghost story with gangsters?


THE WORLD WE KNEW concerns a bunch of armed robbers taking shelter in a large disused country house after a seemingly straight forward bank robbery has turned bloody, claiming the life of a policeman and seriously injuring one of their own. The gang, including the elderly Barker, youngest member Eddie Poe trying his best to come out from under his legendary fathers shadow, ex-boxer Gordon whose career never took off, white suited club owner Stoker, the wounded HP and his friend Carpenter are instructed to stay overnight at the safe house while their unseen boss tries to figure out who is behind a possible tip off that alerted the police. As the night goes on each member seems to be confronted and haunted by their own pasts that have brought them to this situation. More troublingly something else also seems to be haunting the group from within the house turning them on each other.


Note that each character is named after either a horror author or film director. As the film progresses it seems particularly indebted to Edgar Allan Poe’s stories of guilt and H.P. Lovecraft’s stories of haunted remote locations that can shatter sanity. It is this vein that the story continues to mine, helping it avoid the usual cliches that infect the pervasive attitude of lesser British gangster films with their all too hollow foul-mouthed bravado and posturing. The usual horror cliches of jump scares and loud sharp shocks have also been replaced with an atmosphere of creeping dread that soon overcomes the characters.


Each character has been written distinctively enough and then fully fleshed out by the actors. Struan Rodger as Barker, the most familiar face here from his long career which includes the similar KILL LIST, is particularly impressive as the patient Barker while the less familiar, for now at least, Johann Myers as the increasingly wired Gordon makes just as much of an impression with his show stealing scenes. Finbar Lynch also makes the most of his hard-edged alpha male who all too readily takes charge.


Its limited use of location gives it a theatrical feeling but the directors are more than capable of providing an otherworldly atmosphere that is perfectly complemented by its music score by French band The Liminanas. While its story may be slight there is no denying the skill involved on all fronts in bringing it to the screen. Well filmed it is yet another recent debut that has the films viewers eager to see what they will accomplish with more resources in their future films. While the supernatural and the crime genres have been brought together onscreen before it has been quite some time since it has been done so with this level of control and originality.


Iain MacLeod.


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