British gangster noir meets the haunted house genre in the gripping and visually stunning The World We Knew. The film opens right where we need to be: gang members have a robbery go wrong, and they flee to a safe house for one night to let things blow over. With all that happens to these characters, the film sometimes feels like it takes place over a week (or even more), so keeping in mind that the characters go through all they do in one night is important to remember while you watch.
The house instantly doesn’t seem as safe as the gang initially thought, and slowly they each lose their sense of security… or are they losing their minds? The World We Knew heavily relies on its exciting mix of characters and intense dialogue scenes, each helping to create a unique sense of conflict. Throughout, it manages to keep a solid pace with a healthy combination of interesting anecdotes and a tremendous sense of dread.
For how economic it is, The World We Knew is quite visually appealing. There are many darkly lit scenes that remain incredibly engaging. Quite often, this low-budget flick looks much more like a heavily funded film. A lot of credit goes to the acting abilities demonstrated: most of the actors felt like they could be household names in the British film industry. This film is highly character-focused, and the strong cast lifts the movie to higher levels, with the house functioning as its own presence in the plot.
The World We Knew is an impressive and compelling piece of work. It breaks genre conventions and reinvents the British gangster genre and, all the while, doing the same for the haunted house genre. Regardless, this won’t be a movie for everyone. I’d recommend it as worthy of viewing to anyone, but I imagine the film may gain a specific cult following after its wider release. Having reasonable prospects is necessary, as this is not your typical haunted house like you’d expect in something like The Conjuring; but also not quite your typical British gangster film like Legend — although I’d say it comes closer to that of Tom Hardy‘s film about the Kray Twins than to classic haunted house horror.
But The World We Knew is such a singular work, which makes it worth checking out regardless of your particular interests. This is a genuinely gripping and original film, no matter what your “thing” is.
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