There’s one thing I know about British film-makers: they all know how to make an old school horror flick that accurately matches the mood and style of whatever time period they choose. Mrs. Wiltshire is no different, hearkening back to a time when haunted house flicks were all the rage just before the 1970’s. Written by Gary Smart, Neil Morris and Adam Evans, Mrs. Wiltshire tells the story of a lonely old woman who loves to break the fourth wall, as she struggles with missing her family, taking care of her home, and the spirit of her dead husband with a menacing agenda of his very own. Mrs. Wiltshire gradually crumbles under these pressures, and the viewer is left wondering if the evil entity is really a poltergeist or all in her head. Directed by Gary Smart and Neil Morris, the film stars Doris M.F. Bohnam, Stanley Rawlings, Bruce Jones and Ray Skeemer. And this is going to be a tough review because I’m torn on what I want to say.
Shot under Dead Mouse Productions and presented by Dark Ditties, Mrs. Wiltshire is all you can ask for as far as film quality goes. I love the deserted, spooky, smokey atmosphere that contrasts everything that the title character is – nurturing, loving, feeble and weak. She’s definitely a character that the audience will connect with, and she’ll bring out those feelings you have for older family members in your life. I guess you can say Mrs. Wiltshire is a darker version of Mrs. Doubtfire with a supernatural twist. This is, perhaps, where the trouble begins. I don’t think Mrs. Wiltshire is scary nor thrilling enough to keep an audience entertained for its run time of 66 minutes. The promise of a proper haunted house flick was lost in translation and the ghastly spirit doesn’t really show face until the end of the film. There isn’t an attempt to scare and frighten, only the opportunity to explore the story from a psychological and dramatic standpoint. While it is certainly a healthy dose of both, the horror audience won’t be enthused by its content.
I still enjoyed my viewing, though. I love the British accents and how thick they are. I like the script’s steady downfall into madness. All of the acting performances were top notch and, coupled with the musical scores, helped to sell the story in a successful way. I liked the mystery and I appreciated the drama…but I was looking for horror, to which there wasn’t a whole lot. Produced by Gary Smart, Neil Morris, Christopher Griffiths and Stuart Conran, and featuring cinematography by Terrence Wilkins & Ben Halford and editing by Nicholas Hemsley, Mrs. Wiltshire is an incredibly crafted film that’s virtually flawless, cinematic-ally on point, and filled with high caliber acting. With an extra level of suspense in the right places and an extra notch or two of horror, this could have been a huge hit. Or maybe it would survive better as a short? Either way, Mrs. Wiltshire is a dark story with a villain that fell flat on its face, whether the lead villain is life or a ghost.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10