The Moor (2023) – Film Review
Director: Chris Cronin
Cast: Sophia La Porta, Bernard Hill, David Edward-Robertson
By Roger Crow
When The Blair Witch Project became one of the most lucrative low budget horror thrillers of all time, it was inevitable that countless other found footage chillers would follow in its wake.
That was back in the late 1990s. And these days of course, the genre has morphed a little, so in order to document bizarre goings on, the bulky cameras of old have become small sports cams, and heaven forbid the whole thing shouldn’t be documented on a podcast.
Clocking in around the two-hour mark, some might say The Moor is far too long. I’m all for thrillers that take their time setting out their stall and ramping up the tension, but after half an hour I was hoping that cast and crew would pick up the pace.
Which is not to say it’s a bad film. Far from it. The Moor gets an awful lot right, and if you can get past the rather stagey opener in which a couple of kids try and pinch sweets from the local shop, then what follows is rather compelling.
Like Dark Encounter from 2019, this is another locally made offering that centres on a missing child and the search for said kid. Except takes place many years after the youngster’s disappearance, and, as the title suggests, takes place on one of the most notorious landmasses in Britain.
Sophia La Porta is Claire, the heroine podcaster haunted by events from decades earlier when she pinched those aforementioned sweets. She now feels compelled to find her missing accomplice with the father of the missing kid.
Intercut with the drama is footage of seasoned locals who recall the summer when that youngster vanished. Oh, and there’s the ever reliable Bernard Hill to add dramatic heft to the saga.
So Claire and a small team of seemingly Ill-equipped explorers investigate the fog-shrouded Moors, and good old sensory deprivation soon kicks in.
The area they’re searching is vast, and if you had no idea how big, a load of OS maps spread out soon illustrate the point. So why are they searching in such a specific area? Well, like water dowsing, apparently there’s a version that also works for missing people, which may or may not help the mission.
The cast acquit themselves well. And most of them don’t carry a lot of baggage from previous projects, which helps the credibility enormously.
As things become more unusual, and there’s plenty of POV shots of the terrified heroine hyperventilating, veteran horror fans will feel they’ve been here before. Though it ticks many of the required boxes for Wicker Man/Kill List/Blair Witch-style thrills, you might yearn for something more. No pun intended.
That’s said, it looks like The Moor director Chris Cronin has a bright future. So, I look forward to see what he, and the cast, does next.