Wendy, a trainee park ranger, finds herself lost in the woods and stranded miles from home. Moreover, she stumbles upon a corpse in the isolated wilderness, and must spend the night guarding the potential crime scene with just the body for company. It’s a premise rife for Blair Witch–style paranoia and chilling atmospheric horror to unfold. How then, does Body at Brighton Rock manage to squander this potential on a boring and entirely by-the-numbers horror flick?
To begin with, Body at Brighton Rock relies far too heavily on generic horror tropes rather than crafting out a niche for itself by leaning into its naturalistic elements. Much of the horror derives from the diegetic noises heard by Wendy – the trees creaking in the wind or nocturnal animals scampering through the undergrowth – as well as the isolation she feels as an “indoors person”. This has the potential to create something truly chilling by touching upon an almost universal fear. However, it is lost due to an overuse of a high-pitched soundtrack akin to Psycho that feels wholly out of place and essentially telegraphs where the horror is going to occur.
Similarly, there’s an over-use of jump-scares and quick flashes of visceral imagery that shatters the tension built by the moments of silence when the paranoia really has the opportunity to really set in. As a result, the film is never that scary and is actually quite boring. Especially because, rather unfortunately, Karina Fontes lacks the charisma to really hold the audience’s attention for the entirety of the film.
However, this could also be due to the fact that Wendy suffers from a serious bout of “stupid-decision-syndrome”. The character frequently defies explicit instructions or does things that make little to no sense for the purpose of plot contrivance. The result is a dissatisfying experience in which the only really emotion felt by the audience come the end is frustration.