Frightfest Glasgow: The Cellar (2022)

Director: Brendan Muldowney

Running Time: 94 Minutes

Certification: 18

Starring: Elisha Cuthbert, Eoin Macken, Abby Fitz, Dylan Fitzmaurice-Brady, Aaron Monaghan

Ready to start a new life in the country, Keira (Elisha Cuthbert) and Brian Woods (Eoin Macken) move into a large house that seems too good to be true. The family quickly realize something is not right when eldest daughter Ellie (Abby Fitz) mysteriously vanishes inside the cellar, counting a never-ending number of steps as she disappears.

As the worried family work through their Schrodinger's Cat of grief about Ellie's fate, Keira grapples with parental fears regarding their relationship. Ellie moving away from her friends left matters tense, although her disappearance leaves Keira to realize she didn't truly know her daughter. These moments show Cuthbert as the stand-out performer, willing to rectify things however possible and seemingly improbable.

Writer/director Brendan Muldowney crafts effective chills from the simplest of things, wringing tension from each step into the cellar along with a creeping atmosphere. What works is how the house feels full of personality, as lingering shots make it appear ready for new tenants to fall victim to what lurks inside. What's left is an effective view of regret and grief in unforeseen circumstances.

The Cellar played at Frightfest Glasgow. Available on Shudder and in cinemas from April 15th.