The Horror Honeys: Soulmate: Musicians and monsters

Soulmate: Musicians and monsters

A Supernatural Honey WiHM Review by Suzanne

Soulmate (2013)

It’s February, which means Women in Horror Month. Granted, we here at the Horror Honeys celebrate women in horror all year because we watch horror all year and, well, we’re all ladies. I’ll let you decide how loosely the word “ladies” is used to describe any one of us. Still, no one on staff has a penis (though we all have brass balls) so your argument is invalid.

I’m celebrating this week with a gothic ghost story written and directed by Axelle Carolyn. Some of you may know her as an actress from such films as Centurion and Doomsday. She is also the wife of one of my favorite directors, Neil Marshall, but she certainly doesn’t need that connection to make a name for herself. 
Soulmate tells the story of Audrey who, after the loss of her husband and a failed suicide attempt, looks to isolation as a way to get her life together. She rents a cottage in a remote village in Wales and immediately begins to hear noises at night.

Audrey fears she has an intruder, but the noises keeping her awake are being made by Douglas Talbot, the man who owned the cottage… and also died there. Douglas took his own life after his fiancé called off their wedding. He became trapped in the house and until Audrey no one has been able to see him. After the initial shock wears off, Douglas and Audrey form a unique friendship. The closer they become, the more dimensional he becomes. In gaining strength, he intends to do whatever it takes to keep Audrey with him forever.

There is no shortage of atmosphere here. Shot in the Welsh countryside, the foggy, rainy landscape plays a huge part in conveying Audrey’s isolation and despair. The cottage is dark and cold and, while it looks huge from the outside, it seems close and confining on the inside.
Anna Walton (Hellboy II, The Seasoning House) stars as Audrey and carries the weight of the movie on solid shoulders.

Tanya Myers and Nick Brimble are also great as Theresa and Dr. Zellaby, the town residents Audrey turns to for help. Unfortunately, Tom Wisdom, who was not the original choice for the role and stepped in last minute, did nothing for me as the ghost of Douglas. His performance was flat and it seemed he was really phoning it in.

For those of you looking for a gory film full of jump scares, this won’t be for you. Aside from a rather intimate and uncomfortable suicide scene right at the start of the film, there is very little blood. This is a slow burn film and although it may not have you covering your eyes, it has a surprise ending that leaves you wanting just a little more.

I only had two real issues with Soulmate. I thought the ghost makeup for Douglas was a little too theatrical, rather than something created for film. Instead of giving him a pale, transparent look, he had an almost clown-like appearance. The other problem I had is personal and probably incredibly petty. Audrey is a musician, a violinist. I played the violin from the age of 7 to the age of 18. In order to make music, you have to touch the fingerboard and move the bow up and down more than one string. Walton wasn’t even trying. I don’t expect any actor to learn to play a very difficult instrument for a role, but they should learn to fake it. 

Fun fact: The dog in the film, Anubis, is Axelle Carolyn’s own beloved Basenji in her film debut.

Supernatural Honey verdict: 3.5 suicidal violinists out of 5

Hot Tip: Axelle Carolyn’s next project is the much anticipated anthology Tales of Halloween. She not only created the concept, but is the lone female writer/director contributing alongside the likes of Darren Lynn Bousmen, Neil Marshall, Paul Solet, and Lucky McKee, to name a few. You know I love an anthology so this is a must see for me.