Critical Analysis - “Don't Look Back”
(director - Nathan J. Allan)
3.5 out of 5.0 stars
Don't Look Back is a horror drama about loss and it’s management. The story’s main character Polly (Zoe Frances), is trapped in a suffocating, threatening environment, being the prey of a phobic mechanism from which, seemingly, there is no escape.
Polly is aware of a presence lurking in the background..
Nathan J. Allan has directed a truly decent, atmospheric horror film concerning the technological parameters such as cinematography or directing pace. In matters of filmic techniques I would also state that the editing and the development of the plot are created in a balanced way and are totally connected to the genre. Our director speaks about OCD and how it’s expansions are attached to his film.
I’m really concerned about that since it is clearly a film in which the protagonist suffers from PTSD. The main character is clearly suffering from past trauma and this has as a result illusions and night terrors. Although, I’m in no way entitled to critique the creators personal experiences, how they like to name them and those experiences’ expansions. I surely can not judge an author's decision to put light in a situation by using metaphors. An artist’s experiences are their tools and I believe that they can use them to create something amazing.
But here, yet another moment, we see the so-called experiences of a man be represented by a female character. Yes, this is not as usual as I make it seem, but it is a privileged way of narrating a story.
Our protagonist is followed by her terror, the Tall Man. .
Don't Look Back starts strongly and it immediately puts us in the protagonist’s troubled mind by a message we hear from an answering machine saying that “nobody else is in the house”. We straight away know that we are about to watch a story regarding mental health, a fact that is established by a clever trick; the phone message.
The figure of a Tall Man is frequently used in feature horror films but I don’t find this to be a banality in Don’t Look Back, rather than a reference. Ιt is appreciated that the film is not exploiting its chances with the viewers and the director is not overdoing it, neither with the screening time nor with the plot.
Don’t Look Back is a remarkable effort and the first step to a well rooted feature horror film.
Eva Vlachou, MA