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Simon Read [Film Festival 10.31.09] United Kingdom movie review horror

Year: 2008
Directors: Toni Harman
Writers: Alex Wakeford
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Credo is a low-budget British horror film directed by Tony Harman, written by Alex Wakeford, and set in London. The film starts off with a group of Catholic students attempting to summon the devil himself; in the attic of their college halls of residence: Eden. Of the five, Simon (played by the late Stephen Gately, who carries himself pretty well in the role) is their leader, with his roots in Irish Catholicism; he’s seemingly obsessed with finding Satan, so as better to defeat him. His friend Seth however, gets cold feet and breaks-off from the séance, running to his bedroom to pray for his friends and ask God’s forgiveness. The next morning, his four friends are all dead from separate and gruesome suicides... found by staff and students in their bedrooms in Eden.

The film then cuts to another group of very different students, several years later, and they’ve just been evicted from their flat. Jock, a boisterous American... um... jock, has held one wild party too many, and the landlord boots them onto the street. Jock swears to them that he’ll find new digs by the end of the day, although the group are not convinced as he’s basically the least reliable person alive, as well as being a real pain-in-the-ass, and a wide-awake nightmare douchbag... who uses the word ‘Party’ as a verb. Alice, (MyAnna Burning) on the other hand is a practical and dedicated psychology student who spends all her time in the college library studying for exams. Timmi is a shy brunette who has a secret crush, and Scott is a well intentioned nerd, who also has a secret crush. With their somewhat token and underwritten black friend Jasmine in tow, the five of them break into the long abandoned Eden Catholic Halls to spend a weekend of boozy fun and Ouija board tinkering, despite Timmi’s reluctance at having read about Eden’s dark history.

Hands-down the best thing about Credo is this, and if you really don’t want a slight spoiler then skip to the next paragraph: It’s old-school, it’s cerebral and it’s scary, but there is no explicit horror except that which is suggested. I live for a film that can scare me without resorting to buckets of gore, grotesque make-up or weak CGI, and once Credo gets going, it’s really an effective little horror film. After a shaky start which has some pretty dodgy acting, the film finds its feet and we follow the characters through a terrifying journey in which Satan will try his very best, through hallucination and time-shifts, to separately convince each character to commit suicide, so they’ll die in sin and he can claim their souls.

Harman has wisely used a single, incredible location for Eden; it’s a huge complex of run-down bedrooms and hallways, full of filthy mattresses and old radiators, broken lights and years worth of dirt and grime, and it helps to perfectly set the tone and atmosphere for the film.

Computer expert Scott secretly attaches cameras around the building too, so we get footage on his laptop, often in night-vision, which is used very effectively. The music and sound design warrant mention too, as they are simply terrific in turning-up the fright factor and keeping the audience tense as to the next scare, especially the microphone that Scott uses to pick up signals that humans can’t normally hear - that freaked me out completely!
In all, Credo is an intelligent and chilling psychological-horror film that uses inventive camera work, imaginative sound design and those overlooked little techniques known as suspense and suggestion, to create some real scares. The budget is low, but it’s all about the characters, and their respective fates.

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