After thrilling gothic film lovers for years with an impressive catalogue of horrors, the Hammer Film Productions, much like many of their notorious characters, has been revived from the dead.

Following last year's remake of 'Let Me In', 'Wake Wood' is their second film and the first Hammer Horror shot in Ireland and thankfully, they cast local talent in the lead roles.

Eva Birthistle and Aidan Gillen play parents to a young girl who is savagely killed. As bad as things are, they could always get worse...and it being Hammer time, they do. When they have the opportunity to spend three days with their deceased daughter they break all the rules to ensure they get to see her again.

A full-on mix of psychological thriller with spine tingling gore, director David Keating co-wrote the screenplay with Brendan McCarthy, which was based on the latter's original story.

The idea of a young couple losing their child is not a new one ('The Wicker Man', 'The Daisy Chain', 'Don't Look Now') but it holds such emotional depth, as most parents' biggest nightmare, that it grips audiences time and time again.

A great premise, talented cast and superb production values from John Hand given the limited budget, should have ensured that 'Wake Wood' is the most talked about Irish film in recent time.

However what may have read like an excellent screenplay, seems to have been somewhat lost in translation en route to the big screen.

Gillan and Birthistle are strong leads who convincingly power through the material until it becomes too inconsistent to gel and they're ably supported by McCabe, Spall, Gleeson and Connolly, in her debut role.

Just as Hammer are known for producing great horrors, they are also known for injecting lurid subplots and gratuitous gore into their films, both of which distort the focus of this plot. Although viewers do learn how to conduct a caesarean section of a cow, which might come in handy.

As the screen fades to black, Gillen steers the audience into the final twist in the tale with a knowing look directly down the camera lense, hinting at a sequel. However I think that's unlikely.

Taragh Loughrey-Grant