“Today we embark for Hell. May God spare our souls, if not our bodies.”
–Jospeh(sic) Sparry, Seaman-U.S.S. Liberty, War of 1812.
The Forlorned is based upon a novel of the same name, written by Angela J. Townsend. The opening sequence consists of a dark shoreline strewn with linen wrapped bodies of bullet-riddled corpses. As the camera pushes inward, we are introduced to a clergyman named Benjamin Gray, who offers last rites to the dying & aforementioned, Joseph Sperry. The young seaman expires as the priest records his name alongside the other dead men’s on a yellowed piece of parchment. He then tucks it away inside his worn & tattered Bible, saying “God forgive me.”, as the picture fades into the title screen.
What does this mean and who is responsible for the demise of these men?
Flashing forward in time, we meet Tom Doherty (the main character, a transplant from Maine) as he answers a help wanted ad. The listing seeks a handyman for repair work on an old lighthouse built on an island in Nova Scotia, Canada. It’s at this point that we also meet “Murph“, the grizzled owner of Murphy’s Pub (back on the mainland). The two men exchange pleasantries & discuss the work ahead that Tom is to complete. Just then, a bloody seagull slams into a large window which looks out upon the disrepair of the lighthouse. Startled, Tom learns that this is an all too common occurrence on the island now, according to Murphy. As the bar owner prepares to leave, he impresses upon Tom the importance of staying busy, while doing his best to avoid the same fate as the previous lighthouse keeper.
Is there some truth to the local stories that claim the island isn’t empty or is it as Murphy says, “…just nonsense”?
The picture attempts to convey that Tom may or may not be hallucinating when he starts to hear and see ‘ghost hogs’ and other confusing plot devices. Regrettably, these seemingly random oddities are as feebly executed as the films tired and predictable jump scares.
Is he being attacked or is he, in fact, losing his mind? …Meh, who cares?
The film incorporates plenty of confusing and shaky hand-held shots; the kind directors often overuse when trying to force the audience to see through the eyes of whatever fog beast is lurking in the shadows. Sadly, none of these set-ups actually help to build suspense or fear.
As for the characters, they seem empty and unrealized, doing little more than a cardboard cut-out could manage in their place. The best of which is the somewhat clichéd beanie wearing ex-fisherman “Murph“, played competently by Cory Dangerfield. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast are as forgettable as the title and meanderingly disjointed plot of this film.
The third act of the picture is even more laughable and incoherent than the first two, but at least you know that the end is near. There is an especially inexplicable scene wherein a blowtorch is used to remove a bear trap from a leg. WTF?
From the opening typos to the silly and unconvincing composite shots near the finale, the audience is forced to endure ridiculous acting, poor writing, and a lackluster score, throughout. In closing, be sure to heed The Forlorned poster’s heliographic visage…and stay clear of this wreck.