It’s a clever idea, but when you have a story that constantly changes between different times, it is vital things link together somehow. It’s a difficult cinematic technique to master, and unfortunately Legacy of Thorn doesn’t quite manage it.
Many of the scenes seem jumbled together, with little connection from one to the next. The result is that the film feels somewhat unedited, like it was simply filmed out of sequence and left that way rather than being intentionally non-chronological. Character development suffers greatly as a result, as their stories are constantly interrupted. It’s tiring trying to piece together crucial titbits of information, and you soon lose interest.
Being a low-budget horror, obviously we have to have some low-budget gore effects! Well, Legacy of Thorn certainly doesn’t disappoint there, but it perhaps went a little too far with the whole ‘horror on a shoestring’ concept. Much of the ‘gore’ looks like it was achieved using effects bought at a fancy dress party shop. Sometimes bad special effects can have a charm to them, sometimes they’re just tacky. In this case, it’s unfortunately the latter. Considering how cheap and easy it is to obtain fairly decent horror SFX nowadays, there’s no real excuse for them to be this bad. It’s a shame, because some of the deaths are pretty inventive and it would have been interesting to see them done with better effects.
Of course, the unorganised plot and dodgy SFX could be forgiven if they were supported by a decent script and acting. Yet again Legacy of Thorn fails to deliver. Some of the dialogue is so wooden it would not be out of place in a GCSE drama class. A few of the actors are solid enough, some of them getting less screen time than they should have, but the majority of the cast just aren’t even remotely believable. Whether it’s the obviously put on gruff, tough guy voices, or the overly hysteric women (there’s a stereotype that can’t die soon enough), there’s just so much wrong, it’s painful to watch.
Then there’s just some bizarre design choices in the film; I’m not even talking about the titular character, Thorn, but the strangely Americanised setting of the film. The accents are all British, and it’s clearly set in England, but the school scenes have the guys dressed like jocks in varsity jackets, cheerleaders and then there’s armed American-style SWAT teams. It’s strange, but also kind of cool. It definitely gives Legacy of Thorn a unique visual style.
The music for the film is one of its strongest points, and has a very late '80s electronic vibe to it - somewhat reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing, a personal favourite.
It’s always difficult to be so critical of low-budget indie flicks like this, as anyone who tries to make a film with limited resources in this day and age deserves credit. It’s a tough business, but we have to be honest and unfortunately Legacy of Thorn just has a lot wrong with it. If anything, perhaps the mistakes that were made can help inform and improve future flicks from these guys, but otherwise Legacy of Thorn is a legacy best left forgotten.
Review: Legacy of Thorn
By Ross Wildish - 6th July 2015
In the independent film industry, probably no other genre thrives as much as horror films. Horror directors relish shoestring budgets, inexperienced crew and actors. Some of the most creative, brilliant films have been born from low-budget filmmaking.
But is Legacy of Thorn one of these success stories? This crowdfunded slasher flick is from Mycho Entertainment Group, also responsible for Slasher House.
The basic plot revolves around a homicidal maniac named Thorn murdering some teenagers, and four years later a handful of the survivors band together to try and take Thorn out to prevent any more deaths.
The entirety of the film darts back and forth in time, from just before Thorn’s murderous rampage, to the killings themselves and after, when the survivors face him four years later.