Review: DARK DITTIES PRESENTS: MRS. WILTSHIRE (2018)

MRS. WILTSHIRE

An offshoot of Cult Screenings UK the makers of documentaries such as YOU’RE SO COOL BREWSTER! THE STORY OF FRIGHT NIGHT, DARK DITTIES website describes it as “a dark comedy anthology series”. I haven’t seen the first episode THE OFFER but while the second episode, MRS. WILTSHIRE is certainly dark, it comes up a bit short in the comedy department. Not that it’s bad, it’s actually a very effective tale of a haunted house and a haunted mind.

Mrs. Wiltshire (Doris M.F. Bohnam) is an elderly widow living alone in her apartment, the apartment she lived her life in. The place where her two children were born and raised. And also the same place where the three of them were abused by her now deceased husband (Bruce Jones DISTORTED).

But he isn’t gone, his evil presence remains, trapping her despite the efforts of the now grown Tony (Stanley Rawlings) to get her to leave. But as the story progresses it seems things may not be what they seem at first.

Running just about an hour MRS. WILTSHIRE is a grim, slow-burning piece that makes up in atmosphere what it may lack in action. Apart from the brief opening scene in the yard, the entire film takes place in the house giving it a claustrophobic feel. As the story unravels you begin to feel as trapped as she does. Writer/directors Neil Morris and Gary Smart get the most out of their one, very commonplace setting.

Told in a slightly unconventional mix of straight narrative and fourth wall breaking sequences where she looks at the camera and talks to the viewer as though they were a house guest. Normally this would push me out of the film, but here it actually works. With its limited sets and cast these conversational scenes actually add to the intimate feel of the production. Moments of calm between the storms.

As much a drama with a supernatural element as a traditional horror film MRS. WILTSHIRE is a strong and powerful piece. It’s anchored by a brilliant performance by Doris Bohnam who sadly passed away shortly after filming it. Becoming more disturbing and powerful as it reaches it’s final revelations, though the tacked on epilogue was unneeded, MRS. WILTSHIRE deserves to be seen.

MRS. WILTSHIRE is currently playing the festival circuit. You can keep updated on it at DARK DITTIES website and Facebook page.

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy