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The Forlorned (2017) - Movie Review

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The Forlorned - Movie Review

2 beersDisembodied voices from a bygone era; the sound of the restless sea; moonlight crashing against the rocks surrounding the island’s lighthouse, and the heavy fog endlessly spilling in from an unnamable source.  All of these are spectacular qualities that surround the mysterious shores of The Forlorned.  The lighthouse at the film’s dead center is, no doubt about it, damned. 

With no corner safe from a shadow and no harbor free of a curse, The Forlorned opens with a wild prologue that sets the stage for a historical haunting few productions dare to mount anymore.  And that ghostly opening, complete without a present priest’s blessing, is one of the strengths of the movie.  Unfortunately, a charged beginning is jettisoned, maybe twenty quick minutes later, by a very skimpy story that goes where plenty of other films have gone before.

If you ask me, lighthouses aren’t featured enough in horror films.  They seem to populate books well enough, though.  Off hand, I can think of only a few horror films that have used the sheer isolating properties of the lighthouse to full effect in order to create a maddening mood and a spooky atmosphere that keeps the audience on edge.  Maybe it is too expected; too gimmicky but, honestly, I still think these guiding beacons can provide unsettling avenues for terror which is why I was excited to check out this cinematic adaptation of Angela Townsend’s The Forlorned

Midnight Releasing’s movie, even if it fumbles through the dark settling into a very familiar tale of possession, exploits that isolating quality and begins to earnestly explore those properties before leaving us with a bloody mess of hokum to sort through.  For about 20-minutes, this tale of one naive caretaker’s journey into a madness only remoteness can offer lands its blows squarely on the jaw.

And then it slowly descends into a predictable mess of dull possession.  

Directed by Andrew Wiest (Treasure State), The Forlorned is a low budgeted attempt to weigh in on the magnificently bewildering affects of isolation as Tom Doherty (Colton Christensen), the unsuspecting victim in this eventual tale of possession, answers an advertisement and winds up charged with the upkeep of the lighthouse.  He’s coming from Maine and is relatively new to Canada and while he becomes aware that the locals, played here by Cory Dangerfield and Larry Laverty, won’t dare do it, he performs the job in earnest.  This part, with Christensen beginning to react to the sounds and screams of the ghosts around him, is as good as the movie gets unfortunately.

And his reward for his sense of duty is a series of WTF moments after witnessing one of the weird moments from the lighthouse’s past as a previous lighthouse keeper is gobbled up by a group of flesh-hoarding pigs.  Thankfully, The Forlorned doesn’t shy away from the blood and guts.  It does; however, deviate from the original narrative and pitches, in large part, the island mysteries in favor of a leaden story of possession that doesn’t really work in order to maintain a continued interest in the film’s events. 

Co-starring Elizabeth Mouton and a whole hell of a lot of otherworldly sounds, Wiest’s movie is rather routine and surrenders everything that it did so well in the beginning with a condensed narrative that goes over-the-top (with its already shortened running time) all too soon.  So much for suspense.

The Forlorned is now available on Amazon Instant, iTunes, Xbox, Vimeo, Steam, Vudu, and Google Play.


The Forlorned - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated
86 mins
: Andrew Wiest
Ryan Reed, Angela Townsend
Colton Christensen, Elizabeth Mouton, Cory Dangerfield
: Horror
What's done in the dark, will be brought to the light.
Memorable Movie Quote: "What in hell made you take this job?"
Midnight Releasing
Official Site:
Release Date:

DVD/Blu-ray/Home Video Release Date:
October 3, 2017
Synopsis: A newly positioned lighthouse caretaker is haunted by a malevolent presence. Unlikely assistance is given to bring justice to the dark forces that lie within the lighthouse grounds.

The Forlorned - Movie Review


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