❉ Will Jewell’s claustrophobic thriller starring Steve Spiers is an impressive debut feature.
Concrete Plans is the new feature film written and directed by Will Jewell shown recently at this year’s FrightFest. A disparate group of builders are employed to renovate a farmhouse in the Welsh countryside for a young rich ex-army aristocrat. Sharing a claustrophobic portacabin these largely unpleasant individuals spend the first part of the film brooding and insulting each other. Things turn nasty, really nasty however when they find out they won’t be paid by the employer and they have been working for nothing. The whole thing soon turns out to be more Auf Wiedersehen Blood Let than Auf Wiedersehen Pet!
With a strong cast including Steve Speirs from Upstart Crow, Welsh actor William Thomas and an appearance from sitcom veteran James Lance as a smarmy accountant this is an impressive debut feature that also has a score by Paul Hartnoll of Orbital. It explores class, racism (Ukrainian immigrant worker Viktor the only decent individual in the group is shunned and racially insulted) and peer pressure taken to the highest extremes. Each individual has an often not very pleasant reason why they have taken the job and the high-stake card games they play make us wonder how far peer pressure can go in desperate times.
The film is more thriller than horror, but the violence is particularly graphic with nods to the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple and possibly Deliverance and Southern Comfort. The claustrophobic atmosphere in a situation where no one can trust anyone else is also brilliantly depicted and the way things can quickly go out of control when bad decisions are made drives the plot forward effectively. And it has a twist that I didn’t see coming. Not a feel-good movie then but definitely an impressive debut.
❉ Signature Entertainment Presents ‘Concrete Plans’ available on all digital platforms from 23 November 2020.
❉ James Collingwood lives in West Yorkshire and currently contributes to the Bradford Review where he has interviewed Kay Mellor, George Layton, Tim Booth and Jeremy Dyson among many others. HisTwitter is @JamesCollingwo1