{Movie Review} Nefarious: Directed By Richard Rowntree

Nefarious (2019)

UK: Dir. Richard Rowntree

I wanted to like Nefarious, I really did. If you don’t support homegrown horror, then we’ll never get the next crop of talented genre-filmmakers. And so, as usual, I went in with an open mind, hoping to enjoy the film that unfolded. 

Sometimes, I even managed to.

Nefarious bills itself as a home-invasion thriller with a twist, the twist presumably being that it’s an unacknowledged remake of Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe. We follow a group of young folk, in trouble with a local drug dealer, who decide to rob the house of a rich man and find more than they bargained for. 

The actors in the lead roles are all pretty good, with Abbey Gillett as Jo being a standout, but they are given little to work with. The less said about Clive, played by Gregory A Smith channelling the spirit of Forrest Gump, the better.

The film takes forever to set up its simple premise, doing so in the most tortuously over-complicated way imaginable.

There’s a maddening sub-plot involving two police officers interviewing suspects that leads precisely nowhere and achieves nothing.

Darren came into the office,’ says one suspect to the police. ‘He said he wanted milk.’

CUT TO – Darren walking into the office, asking for milk. 

This happens over and over again.

I dropped them off,’ says a taxi driver. ‘They looked nervous.’

CUT TO – the taxi driver dropping them off. They look nervous

It’s not all bad. 

Without wishing to sound facetious, at least the film is short. 78 minutes long, and that’s including the 4 minutes of opening credits and 6 minutes of closing credits!

The score is quite good, and the climax, when it comes, breathes a bit of life into proceedings, particularly an almost Looney Tunes-Esque slapstick death scene. Technical aspects are hit and miss — the aforementioned taxi scene is comically over-edited with every single effect Final Cut Pro can do layered on top of each other, but the cinematography occasionally achieves a gritty beauty. The opening credits promise stronger imagery than the rest of the film is able to deliver though, with strong use of blue and pink lighting that recalls Dario Argento’s Inferno. Shame they didn’t follow that route.

It’s not a strong recommendation from me, I’m afraid. It needed some suspense or a couple of gripping set-pieces. Here’s hoping the team’s next venture will be more successful.


Darren, Lou, Jo and Mas live a meagre existence on the fringes of poverty. Indebted to the criminal kingpin of their social housing development, they routinely fear for their lives. On the other side of town, the already wealthy Marcus and his disabled brother Clive receive a windfall in the form of a winning lottery ticket. When their worlds collide following a botched robbery, the would-be criminals get more than they bargained for, and will be tested to their limits in a desperate attempt to survive a predator of monstrous proportions.

Nefarious will be showing at various festivals throughout 2019.

David Sodergren

David Sodergren lives in Scotland with his wife Heather and his best friend, Boris the Pug. Growing up, he was the kind of kid who collected rubber skeletons and lived for horror movies.

Not much has changed since then.

His first novel, The Forgotten Island, was published on October 1st 2018 to critical acclaim. Up next is Night Shoot, a brutal throwback to the early 80s slasher movie cycle has just recently been released.

He has several more books in various stages of development.

You can follow David on Twitter @paperbacksnpugs

To find out more about David please visit his official website www.paperbacksandpugs.wordpress.com

Find David on Instagram here

Night Shoot

A group of desperate student filmmakers break into Crawford Manor for an unauthorised night shoot. They have no choice. Their lead actress has quit. They’re out of time. They’re out of money.

They’re out of luck.

For Crawford Manor has a past that won’t stay dead, and the crew are about to come face-to-face with the hideous secret that stalks the halls.

Will anyone survive…the NIGHT SHOOT?

A delirious homage to the slasher movies of the 1980s, Night Shoot delivers page after page of white-knuckle terror.

You can buy Night Shoot from Amazon UK & Amazon US

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