I’ve been waiting for over a month since I watched the trailer for the thriller Awaiting, because I wanted to see Tony Curran (Defiance) go postal. And I am oh so pleased, slightly sick, and totally thrilled to say he delivers a staggering performance, usually with an axe, a knife, oh hell, anything sharp and close to hand.
Directed by relative newcomer Mark Murphy (The Crypt) and starring just a handful of actors, Awaiting is an English thriller shot on a tight budget which was filmed over just a few weeks. Much like how Stephen King’s Misery explores obsession, Awaiting delves into the mind of social misfit Morris (Curran) who is not only obsessive over his innocent daughter Lauren (played by the delightful Diana Vickers, The Perfect Wave) but who also seems to have a very dark secret. Sadly this means that third wheel Jake (played with intensity by Coronation Street’s Rupert Hill) is not going to have a good day, but at least he’ll get a warm meal for all his troubles.
Set in the remote English moors, isolation plays as much a leading role as the main characters. Indeed it would seem Morris is very content with being isolated and even happier that his daughter, who has never been further than York, is too. The movie starts with Jake being rescued by Morris after an apparent car crash and Lauren accidentally finding out. You can tell Morris had other intentions but in order to keep his daughter happy he helps bring the unconscious Jake into their home. Immediately, there is a feeling that something is not quite right between father and daughter. It’s not just that she calls her father ‘Daddy’ and is over twenty but also some of the demands Morris makes. I have to say it made me feel very uncomfortable with how ‘close’ the two are (great acting chemistry) and this is brilliantly manifested in how Jake repulses against it too. In fact, I actually chuckled at a few of his outbursts – nervous laughter overload!
Jake is the voice of reason here, trust me. Morris and Lauren are anything but a ‘normal’ family and you can really feel his frustration at being kept out in the woods. Mark Murphy does a great job at building tension in scenes by making sure you cannot predict where they are going; often you think a scene is going to end violently and then it doesn’t, or vice versa. He also does a great job at using varying heights of camera shots to reinforce who is in control, and who is being controlled. I don’t want to go into too many plot details as thrillers are intrinsically designed to keep you guessing but the tension ramps up in the second half and it turns very bloody (if you are easily offended by blood, you’ll be closing your eyes often!) And this is when Curran excels.
I’ve seen Curran in many of his movies and series, from Gladiator to Defiance (which I’ve said you should watch!) and he hasn’t played crazy at this level before (although the patriarch alien Datak in Defiance can be pretty mental at times). So I was pleasantly surprised with his ability to switch from ‘father of the year’ to raving lunatic in a heartbeat. Morris is all the colours of crazy with a few extra rainbows thrown in for good measure and instead of letting us get accustomed to this, Murphy constantly throws curve balls at us. In most areas this is a good thing and is easily accepted because of the situations but there are one or two scenes where your suspension of disbelief is stretched a bit thin (but this can be forgiven by its genre).
One of the things I really enjoyed about Awaiting is how much I liked the antagonist. Yes, he is batshit nuts, yes, he is a bit too close to his daughter and yes, he isn’t the best cook, but he is so magnetic that you’ll start questioning why you want to see more and whether you should probably lock yourself up. And this is the strength of Awaiting, it is pure guilty fun. Sick fun, sure, but fun nonetheless!
Murphy, who also wrote Awaiting back in 2008 (its been through numerous changes), has shown us that bigger doesn’t mean better. This is not a Hollywood movie where millions of dollars have been spent. Instead it is a clever movie that uses tried and tested filming with some great acting to draw you in. Just be prepared to have your crazy buttons pushed in a movie that will leave you more than a little unsettled, and possibly not eating gammon this Christmas.
Have a watch of the brand new trailer to wet your appetite.
You’ll be waiting for Awaiting till January 2015 for its release but keep an eye out on their facebook page for more information.
Last Updated: December 19, 2014