“Young, High And Dead” is a UK indie horror film by directors Luke Brady, Jonathan Brady, Daniel Fenton and Thabo Mhlatshwa. The film stars Hannah Tointon, Louisa Lytton, Philip Barantini, Matthew Stathers, Nigel Boyle, David Partridge, Su Elliott and follows a group of 20-something friends on a weekend camping trip to celebrate the pending nuptials of one couple. “Young, High And Dead” is a contemporary thriller that builds with a slow, steady slice of life anchored by an ominous realization of “wrong place, wrong place” (yeah I meant to type it that way!). The story is a blend of two classic horror archetypes. There is the traditional slasher, bloodbath in the woods element that is wrapped with a more modern aspect of survival from the psycho residents, together the two story elements provide a very haunting and foreboding atmosphere to the film.
The things that I liked about “Young, High And Dead” are select and not necessarily connected to the horror aspect of the film. The soundtrack was produced well and offered a creepy, steady stream of unease through the story. The acting is standard Brit quality acting with the characters seeming believable and effectual. It is very seldom that British indie film or television offer bad acting-it does happen but it isn’t as often as their American contemporaries. The film quality in “Young, High And Dead” is pretty quality as well with a lot of perspective and emotion being offered through a visually surreal style. It is clear that film making is what the crew behind “Young, High And Dead” are meant to be doing. The story is a nice modern tale that offers urban legend, creepy campfire tale, and faux-warning for city folk to stay in the city. “Young, High And Dead” does a very good job of giving fans a cool story filled with melodrama and chilling suspense while setting up a very brutal turn of events. Even the horror aspect (when it finally happens) gives us some much expected thrills and blood.
Now for the things that I didn’t like about the film, and there are a couple. I didn’t like that it took nearly 50 minutes for anything really interesting to happen in the film. Most of that time was spent on set-up story parts and character building that tends to drag on far longer than necessary. I began to question whether or not to finish the film. A lot of the two story aspects of the film where justified and helped to provide an emotional connection with the characters while setting up the series of events from start to finish. I just felt that a lot could have been left out. I got the characters around twenty minutes into the story and I understood how damaged the protagonist was within the first fifteen so a lot of the scenes could have been shorter, flashback moments. By the time the real guts of the story unfold ( the blood and horror) it is almost too late. I said almost. When the crap really hits the fan in this little horror film it really hits. The action and chilling last twenty or so minutes of the film is intense and nail-biting. It almost makes up for the first hour or so of over-indulgence in character building and melodrama.
“Young, High And Dead” may take a bit too long to get to the action and thrills but when it finally does happen it is entertaining, edge-of-your-set excitement. The story is worth watching as an Indie film but if you are a die-hard horror fan who wants mostly intense action-packed bloodshed then you will be frustrated with this film. I begged and found myself actually counting down till the final moments-longing for some gore. The acting isn’t cheesy or over-the-top which is a plus, the tone stays more mature and serious through the film even with the fun, drug induced banter of the characters which one must have in a horror film. That I liked a lot. Nothing more annoying than over acting, that does more to make for a bad viewing experience where too much camp is a bad thing. “Young, High And Dead” is more of a sleepy thriller that ends on a high, brutal note.