When a ‘bog body’ a 2000 year old murder victim preserved in a peat bog is disturbed by developers in rural Ireland, an archaeologist, a hunter and their helpers face the task of sending him back where he came from.
Legend of the Bog, without even getting into the film quickly paints memories of the 1972 docudrama “The Legend of Boggy Creek”. Which from what I remember had a certain creepiness to it that was effective for its time. This film while using a similar title is nothing like it. I’m sure i’m not the only one who made the connection but its good to point out regardless.
Character building flows as expected with a batch of essentially 6 characters. Vinnie Jones (from Midnight Meat Train fame) plays the role of Mr. Hunter who’s character is………yep you guessed, a hunter. Jason Berry as Professor David Wallace is our resident bog expert who of course ends up in the sh*t with the rest of them. In fact his formal title is archeologist, who cares a bit too much about dead bog bodies and conveniently is placed in the script to be one of the protagonists. Nora-Jane who has the pleasure of sporting the unpronounceable name of Saiorse Reilly is clearly here for eye candy. Olga Wehrly as Mallory Ross and Amy Huberman as Hannah Ross are the lost in the bog backpackers.
For script purposes, they all end up at the same cabin as a result of all being lost and conveniently together after the fact.
Shelly Goldstein plays Val Leary, the bitch with the mouth to match who should have been shot and put out of misery long before she took this role.
The film drags among the forest and bog scenery trying to instill a level of chill into its audience. The chill is fleeting and ends up reminding me of an older age Frankenstein lost in the forest kind of picture. Of course Frankenstein isn’t in this but viewers will get the connection i’m speaking of. Essentially the plot is this………….. bunch of folks get lost, gather in a cabin and try to find there way home. In the meantime Bog-Frankestien gets in the way.
The problem I had with this film is it just doesn’t ever really get to a point of terror, suspense or real threat. The Bog person comes off more looking like Tor Johnson who lost his way. Stumbling around the forest, showing up at locations looking for water…it all kind of seemed a bit silly to me rather than terrifying. His origin begins in the present after being dug up and thrown into a local “bog” which per supernatural forces is reanimated from a dried up corpse into a well fed mountain man.
Another thing that instantly stands out but I’m not so sure for the better, is the choice of score and music. Much of the time we are accompanied with sounds of Irish flutes and banjos. A very perky kind of score that is a cross between a hoedown and a sleep aid soundtrack. Anyone in horror knows that even if it reinforces the fact that this is all supposed to be in Ireland, it sets the wrong mood for thrills and frights. On second look evaluation it also begins to make the film feel more like a Lifetime channel presentation than a studio budget film.
Directed and written by Brendan Foley, it’s easy to see that Foley wanted to create a movie that touches on folklore, old country and historical fiction. For that he has done his homework. However the real missing element here is a talent to scare, shock and entertain horror audiences. The horror scenes were there at times but didn’t quite do it to connect the dots into a compelling piece. After viewing this film I went ahead and did some research. By my surprise “bog people” are not a work of fiction but an actual archeological discovery that is covered rather in depth on research sites covering the materials. You can read more into it yourselves but here is a quick blurb from wikipedia.
“Bog bodies, also known as bog people, are preserved human bodies found in sphagnum bogs in Northern Europe, Great Britain and Ireland. Unlike most ancient human remains, bog bodies have retained their skin and internal organs due to the unusual conditions of the surrounding area. These conditions include highly acidic water, cold temperature, and a lack of oxygen, combining to preserve but severely tan their skin.
So now the pieces begin to come together. Foley set out to create functional film that uses this material as its base. It’s good to see that folks are still trying to be inventive. Perhaps though Foley would be better suited doing a documentary film covering the facts than a fiction off-shoot. The amount of historical background introduced into the film would lead me to think in this direction. As a horror film I’m afraid this is pretty weak for horror releases. Even with a few stabs, pokes and beheadings it still falls into a too-soft-for-my-tastes category and too celtic for good measures placement.
Legend of The Bog (2009)