Sparrow review

Penned by way of the wonders of the world wide web by two aspiring screenwriters in two different continents, Sparrow is the debut feature from Poland's Wojciech Stuchlik Film Production and East Pictures S.A., a low-budget horror movie that sticks to the tried and tested conventions of the slasher sub-genre.

In Sparrow, a group of rowdy teenagers venture deep into the woods for a boozy camping trip, only they get far more than just alcohol-fuelled frolics among the trees when a mysterious, machete-wielding behemoth shows up and begins to stalk them, seemingly proving a local urban legend true. It isn't long, however, until he puts his blade to (good) use by hacking and slashing his victims to pieces.

The film-makers are treading familiar territory, for sure, but it is what it is: a movie made for very little money that is relatively effective in following the generic formula that it is open about doing so. The simple equation of sex, gore and a few giggle-worthy gags is a winning one for many people and I'm sure that genre fans will find something to enjoy in this very international film. Shot in Poland with a native crew, starring a British cast and featuring a Brighton-based director, Sparrow is a truly European effort.

The performances are – as you may expect – a mixed bag, but the ways in which the characters are killed off are done well. While there is a little too much CG blood for my tastes, the digital effects used for a couple of the deaths have been composited and edited well, and look decent for the budget, as long as you don't backtrack to watch them again, in which case the imperfections do stand out.

The film is by no means a technical masterpiece (some shots are too bright, others out of focus, although one in particular, a crane shot across a lake bathed in moonlight, looks great) – and the same goes for the storytelling – but at just over an hour long, it's a quick and quite enjoyable fix for horror fans.

Sparrow at IMDb
Official Site

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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