Saturday, April 29, 2017

Radha Mitchell’s Prime Suspect Wicker Man, or Thoughts on Sacrifice

We’ve spoken about Australian actor Radha Mitchell before, with appearances in SilentHill (2006) and The Darkness (2014), and despite enjoying mainstream success in movies like Pitch Black (2000), Man on Fire (2003) and Finding Neverland (2004) she is continually drawn back to the horror/sci-fi genre with films including Surrogates (2009), Rogue (2007) and The Crazies (2010).  Which brings us to Sacrifice (2016), a Scottish conspiracy thriller with some horror edges; equal parts The Wicker Man(1973) and, well, ever British procedural from Prime Suspect to Broadchurch.
Radha Mitchell is Dr. Tora Hamilton, an OB/GYN who, along with her Scottish husband, moves to a small village in the Shetland Islands and finds the mummified body of a woman with runes carved in her skin and her heart ripped out.  Preserved by the peat moss, the authorities maintain that the body is at least a thousand years old, while Radha, very convincing as doctor, believes otherwise.  The premise is all the more compelling as it’s based on historical fact, Northern Europe has been sacrificing people (or executing criminals, depending on your historian) and throwing them in their local bogs since the bronze age.
Tora investigates, and because this is a movie there’s a conspiracy, a small town with lots of secrets, missing women, missing babies and some scary local legends.  Watch out for Ian McElhinney, Barristan Selmy from that show about dragons, as DI McKie and David Robb, Germanicus from I, Claudius (1976) and Dr. Clarkson on Downton Abbey as Richard, Tora’s father in-law.

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