Despair (2017) – By Jim Morazzini


Scotland is a very scenic country, it’s Highlands and Outer Islands making a harsh and beautiful backdrop for films. And while it doesn’t have the film industry of neighboring England it does produce a fair number of films, which brings us to Hank Orion’s debut film Despair, a low key mystery/thriller set in the remote Scottish countryside.

Jack (Michael Wouters) and Lucy (Jagoda Kamov) plan to spend Christmas together in an isolated cottage, however upon arriving they find Margaret (Jodyanne Richardson) nearly frozen to death by the cottage. The couple take her in and nurse her back to health. She claims her car died on the road and she was trying to find help when she was caught in a snowstorm. With their car now dead, the cottage’s land line also dead and the location to remote for cell coverage getting her help proves to be difficult, and is she really the one who is in danger?

Shot in three weeks by a crew of five there is no doubt that Despair is a very well made film. It has a technical quality far above it’s small budget and crew. The acting is also solid with the leads all handing in convincing performances, the script however is another matter. While never really boring, the film is incredibly talky. Now for some this won’t be a problem, they’ll enjoy the drama aspects of the film more than the mystery/thriller angle and that’s great. However a lot of people are going to find it dull and be frustrated as it starts to build up suspense before lapsing back into endless talk. I really kept hoping it would maintain it’s suspense and deliver the goods, but t’s only in it’s final few minutes it manages to do so..

Despair is far from the worst debut film I’ve seen recently Orion shows a lot of technical expertise and potential, he just needs to have a more focused script next time. For those who don’t mind the talk and slow pace, Despair is available from Amazon.