As some of my more attentive readers might recall, not long ago I reviewed an Irish horror flick centred on a cult: Brackenmore.
Despite my final grade (6/10), Brackenmore stuck to my mind ever since I first watched it. Not because it’s particularly disturbing, or funny, or entertaining, or ‘so bad it’s good’… none of those.
In fact, Brackenmore is a very average, middle-of-the-road indie horror flick, but one that has a humongous, unutilised and unfulfilled potential.
Luckily for me – and, to be fair, thanks to my will to interact with my followers and subscribers – Brian Teles, the guy who wrote the original script for this film, contacted me explaining a few interesting details about what Brackenmore could have been if only his vision was fully trusted and embraced.
Since I don’t have the necessary information to state why and how Brian’s vision (and story) got butchered in the final product, I’m just going to focus on what, I believe, could have been a great horror film… and yes, the title of this blog is click-bait but, hey, I need to pay my bills!
Anyway, in the actual movie, Kate (Sophie Hopkins), the main character of the story, needs to go to her ancestral home (the little village of Brackenmore) to claim the uncle’s properties, after the untimely death of an uncle she never knew she had. She decides to travel without her husband since they’re going through some relationship issues and, in Brackenmore, Kate meets Tom, a shady but intriguing guy who gets her more and more involved with the strange traditions of the Irish town.
My two main issues with the movie were the ending, really quite silly and unsatisfactory, and a few plot holes that held the film back.
On the contrary, Brian’s original story displays a completely different situation that would leave less room for plot holes and, most importantly, sounds compelling, emotional and memorable. Here it is:
First of all, Brackenmore was originally entitled Banshee, but there was no sign of a banshee in the film. It wasn’t just the ending that was changed but the lead up to it. As a result, only about a third of the original script was used. The whole reason Kate was lured to Brackenmore in the first place was more complexed than just the uncle: Kate did indeed get lured to Brackenmore by the death of an uncle she didn’t know. But she travels to Ireland because she knows the house that has been left to her in the will. Afterall she spent the first 9 years of her life there.
In the original script it later transpires that the reason she never knew her uncle is because her mother, who died in the car crash (shown at the beginning of the movie) wasn’t actually her biological mother. Her real mother went crazy and killed herself in the house not long after Kate was born (because of the curse) and then her father later remarried the woman who he was having an affair with (the woman who Kate assumed was her mother). History then repeats itself with Kate’s own situation with Steven.
The Banshee killed her family as none of them were decendants of the O’Neill bloodline (except Kate herself). Her uncle was the brother of her real mother – whose ghost we would see in a couple of scary scenes, according to Brian’s original script.
The curse of the aforementioned Banshee (due to a wrong that was done centuries earlier by one of her ancestors) stated there must always be an O’Neill that lives in Brackenmore and can never leave – hence the death of her family at the beginning of the film when they tried to leave Brackenmore. Even the ghosts of her dead family can never leave. Therefore, in the original ending, a pregnant Kate tries to end the curse by throwing herself off a cliff so that the O’Neill bloodline ends and that her unborn child won’t have to suffer her fate.
Unfortunately for her, Kate survives her suicide attempt and the film ends with her a paraplegic, lying in a hospital bed connected to many tubes, being looked after in the attic of the house in Brackenmore by her cheating husband Steven and his new wife (Kate’s former assistant in London that he was having an affair with). Kate can no longer talk or communicate and must watch as her now five year old daughter is befriended by the Banshee who has taken the form of the kindly old lady that first welcomed Kate to Brackenmore in the first place (that character was also not used). The twist was that the kindly old lady who acted as Kate’s friend was in fact the banshee in human form.
Why would Brian’s story would work better than what we got?
For three main reasons, the first of which is the set-up. The dead uncle who she never met as an excuse for Kate to go to Brackenmore is weak by itself. It’s weak because no sane person would go alone to a place far from home just to see the uncle’s property: you would ask to have photos of the house, documents sent by email and other things to prove it’s not a fraud. Sure, Brian’s script takes the easy route by utilising the paranormal element – which doesn’t need to be grounded in reality – but, at least, that wouldn’t leave room for stupidity and errors.
Secondly, the concept of having Kate unable to move and speak – therefore unable to communicate she’s carrying a curse with her – would have enhanced terror and tension in the film, making the audience both more compelled and aware of the dangers.
Finally, the twist is much more believable and unpredictable than the one we got in the actual movie – where the whole community of Brackenmore wants to sacrifice Kate. This twist could have been placed at any point in the movie and would have maintained tension throughout the film, as opposed to having a silly and unoriginal reveal that, also, kind of ruins the previous parts of Brackenmore.
Sure, you can argue that I’m only talking about a script: the movie could have blown even if the script was great (as Brian’s really is). So yeah, we can’t say with certainty that Brian Teles’ story would have made for a great film, but for sure it’s a great material to begin with. A great material that, put in the right hands, I would have loved to see translated to film.
What we are left with is hope: I truly hope that Brian is given another opportunity, this time with less restraints and more freedom, to freely express his talent in original storytelling. Who knows, maybe we will end up with a scary, deep and memorable horror movie. Cheers!
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My review is also available on IMDb – Brackenmore