Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days of Horror: The Eclipse

2009, Conor McPherson -- download

At this point in the viewing project, I am done justifying whether the movie is "horror or not horror".  You cannot depend on descriptions or IMDB defining.  So, considering we only have a few more days of this, I am not going to worry it. Some will be horror, some will not but all will have something horror related.

 The Eclipse is a ghost story inserted into a short story (from "Table Manners" by Billy Roche) set in Ireland.  Ciarán Hinds plays Michael, a widower in the small Irish town of Cobh, who helps run a yearly literary festival.  He is a somewhat morose man, mourning the loss of his wife as he raises his kids and deals with his aging father in law. Between that and his school shop day job, he chauffeurs around writers and attends the readings and seminars.  This is how he gets mixed up with Aidan Quinn and Iben Hjejle, the latter who wrote stories about a ghost she encountered in her youth.

What I loved about this movie was that it was not an American movie set in Ireland nor a movie meant to attract people to the tourism of Ireland.  It's real Ireland, which along with its quaint old houses and bleak seaside weather, has its fair share of mundanity.  I love how just up the road from the ancient coastal cottage was a house built in the 70s, where they parked Hjejle's Irena during the book event.  Quinn's Nicholas might have been balking at the red wine selection but was still able to get a bottle of Cristal to waste.  Hinds' house has incredible internal wooden shutters instead of blinds but his kid still has to run to the gas bar 24hr convenience store for milk.  It was all so matter of fact.

The ghost story comes in Michael being haunted by the memory of his wife as well as the banshee foretelling the coming death of his father in law.  For someone not familiar with Irish myth, it might slip by but the ghostly visions of a man not yet dead as well as the unnerving screams were one thing to us.  Of course that was confirmed when a revenant attempts to take Michael down below, the sign of a man who has committed suicide. That his wife comes to comfort him in this time made this less a scary story and more a beautiful but the scares were there.  And palpable.