A good horror film will revisit all the best tropes, when it comes to sending a shiver up the spine, and deliver a terrifying and terrific monster. A great horror film will use every shot to unsettle the soul, reinvent what it is that scares us, and dare to introduce us to our inner-monster. Eight For Silver reaches for that greatness.
Set in the late nineteenth century, Eight For Silver reveals the horrors of a terrible curse that befalls a brutal landowner after he slaughters a Roma clan that has a claim to his property. In the days that follow the brutal attack, the landowner’s family and the village under his care are plagued by terrible nightmares. The neighborhood children investigate what they believe to be the source of the curse and the landowner’s son, Edgar, is viciously attacked and falls ill before disappearing. In the days that follow, bodies are starting to turn up and the villagers fear a rogue wolf is on the loose. A stranger from out of town warns that something much more sinister is stalking in the woods.
Eight For Silver is written and directed by Sean Ellis (Metro Manila) and stars Alistair Petrie, Max Mackintosh, and Boyd Holbrook.
The atmosphere is the secret sauce when it comes to building the horror of Eight For Silver. The film’s setting draws upon elements of Gothic horror and the terrors of the wilderness and creates such a heavy presence that the setting is almost its own monster. Mist settling heavily on a field. The quiet creaking of an old, stately house. Emerging from the woods to find a lonely scarecrow in an empty field. These are the images that lay the foundation for all that’s to come. The audience is unsettled from the get-go and we never find a safe place to rest our eyes, for the duration.
Eight For Silver goes straight for the kill with insane gore and some gnarly and disgusting monster visuals. The film is completely defined by brutality, from the slaughter of innocents that unleashes the curse to the merciless revenge of the film’s monster. It’s cruel and unyielding and pushes the viewer just to the brink. This film is not for the faint of heart, which makes it an essential horror watch! Not to be mistaken for torture done for titilation, Eight For Silver‘s gory side is executed with intellect and intent.
It’s safe to think of Eight For Silver as a werewolf film. The monster of the film is the result of a child transformed and it takes on a wolflike quality in some aspects. Keeping this in mind, one of the most interesting things that Eight For Silver does is reinvent the werewolf legend into something more sinister. The film takes the familiar territory of werewolves and silver bullets and adds a hellfire singed origin story that is extremely innovative. It’s easily one of the most exciting elements of the film to see werewolves expanded and reframed within the context of all new lore.
Eight For Silver is a bit overindulgent in its runtime. To be frank, the film is too long. However, Eight For Silver earns every stressful and heart-pounding moment to deliver a long adventure but an adventure nonetheless.
An absolutely brutal film that injects some fresh blood into the ranks of werewolf films. Whether you’re a fan of the Gothic, of monsters, or of blood and guts, Eight For Silver is a more than worthwhile watch. Smart filmmaking served with a snarl.
Eight For Silver premiered on January 30 at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
Eight For Silver
Caitlin is a sweater enthusiast, film critic, and lean, mean writing machine based in Austin, TX. Her love of film began with being shown Rosemary’s Baby at a particularly impressionable age and she’s been hooked ever since. She loves a good bourbon and hates people who talk in movies. Caitlin has been writing since 2014 and you can find her work on Film Inquiry, The Financial Diet, Nightmarish Conjurings, and many others. Follow her on Twitter at @CaitDoes.