Film Review: Body at Brighton Rock

Campfire tale finds something spooky in the shadows

After contributing segments to anthology horror films like XX and Southbound, writer-director Roxanne Benjamin finally has a feature to call her own. Body at Brighton Rock introduces us to Wendy (Karina Fontes), a junior park ranger whose cheerful disposition is matched only by her ineptitude in the field.

When Wendy takes a wrong turn and ends up lost in the woods with a dead body, she must show off enough survival skills to stay alive until help comes the following morning. There’s an early lightness to Benjamin’s film – both literally and metaphorically – that separates it from some of its Midnighter peers. Like many indie horror titles, this one draws on Eighties culture for inspiration, but here the reference points are Oingo Boingo and Crispin Glover, a welcome change from the gloomy aesthetic of so many modern homages to the decade.

Unfortunately, the film loses steam when Wendy settles in for the evening. The final hour of Body at Brighton Rock is a mixture of offscreen sound effects and zombie-fueled nightmare sequences. They may serve to make the audience jump, but each cobbled-together jump scare moves the film farther from its promising beginnings (and undermines the empowerment story buried somewhere at the center of the film). Benjamin’s star as a filmmaker may be solidly on the rise, but this is more a stepping stone than a finished product.

Body at Brighton Rock

Midnighters, World Premiere

Saturday, March 9, 11:45pm, Alamo South Lamar A
Thursday, March 14, 11am, Alamo South Lamar A

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SXSW Film 2019, Roxanne Benjamin, Body at Brighton Rock, SXSW Midnighters

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