Mournfully atmospheric, The Ferryman draws you instantly into the plight of the lonely Mara (played by Nicola Holt) and her prosaic daily routine. Hints are given of a life that was, but make no mistake about it, the Mara we meet is in a disturbing struggle with her own existence that includes an attempted suicide. This suicide attempt reunites her with her long-lost father (Garth Maunders) which open up Mara to feelings she has long since locked away.
In the meantime time Mara is hearing things. Can anyone else hearing them? Is she being stalked by a malevolent entity? What is happening to those she cares about? Is it Mara’s fault?
Holt plays Mara with a vicious fragility that leaves you worried about her and fearful of her at the same time as she walks a haunted balance of alienation, mental illness, loneliness and fear. Horror film has often depended on female actors to carry a movie but what Holt does is here is use her role to build a world around her. A world we are not sure if we want to exist in! This leaves an uneasy audience questioning Mara’s plight as execrable events unfold around her.
What sets The Ferryman apart for me is its use of silence. This taciturnity builds up anticipation in the audience whilst emphasising the increased disconnect Mara feels with the world around here. The impact sound has when introduced is paralysing both to Mara and those watching her plight. For this kind of atmosphere to be built successfully a lot depends on the vision of the director (Elliot Maguire) and the interpretation of the actor (Holt) and both deliver big time throughout the movie.
Verdict: 7/10. The Ferryman is a film that tries very hard to punch above its weight and I’m glad to say it succeeds on the majority of its occasions. I think where it could have picked up more points with me is to explore metaphors and symbolism in more depth. This could have then helped build up the mystique of what was happening to Mara. That being said, this is a fine addition to the independent film market that demonstrates just what can be accomplished in today’s multimedia world.