Class is in Session: The School Promises Haunting Atmosphere

From Wolf Creek to The Bababdook, Australia has delivered some great horror imports over the years. Just last year, the gritty Hounds of Love and the supernatural-themed Boys in The Trees garnered some critical praise for ‘Down Under’ filmmakers. Later this month, Cinema Management Group (CMG) will be distributing the creepy looking Aussie horror offering, The School.

Who’s Making It and When It is Coming Out?

Award-winning short film director Storm Ashwood will be making his feature-length directorial debut with The School. The film was made through Australian studio, Bronte Pictures, with worldwide distribution rights acquired by Cinema Management Group (CMG). Ashwood did some work behind the scenes on another fantastic Australian supernatural thriller, Boys in the Trees. At present, the release date for The School is set for July 27, but it’s not clear whether this will include a limited theatrical run or just select VOD services.

What Is it About?

Dr. Amy Wintercraig is successful surgeon whose son nearly drowned to death. Since the accident, he has remained hospitalized in a coma with little chance for recovery. Amy, who obsessively clings to the belief that her son will wake up, inexplicably falls into her own coma. She wakes up in an abandoned school where she is confronted by supernatural forces that haunt her with the memories of children she has treated in the past. Believing her son may be lost in the same dark world, Amy must confront the horrors of ‘The School’ to save him.

Who’s In It?

Given that it’s a small, independent Australian horror film, none of the cast will be recognizable to most North American audiences. Megan Drury is playing Dr. Amy Wintercraig, while Nicholas Hope, who appeared briefly in one of the live-action Scooby-Doo films, plays Amy’s disapproving supervisor, Dr. Wang.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of The School isn’t ‘who’s in it’, but where it was filmed. Much of The School was shot in a real abandoned hospital, the Gladesville Mental Asylum. The facility was opened in the early 1800’s and, like much of mental health treatment in that era, Gladesville harshly warehoused its patients. Over a thousand unmarked graves of patients are reportedly on the filming location, adding a bit of haunting legitimacy to the project.

What Does the Promotional Material Tell Us?

Much of what you’ll gather from both trailers is largely a sense of the atmosphere and visual style of The School. The second trailer fleshes out the film’s official synopsis a little more, but wisely keeps most story elements shrouded in mystery. What stands out most is the visual style, which looks to have some elements of Silent Hill, Guillermo del Toro, and Turkish horror import Baskin. There are some admittedly very cool shots and visuals in the two trailers. If the trailer isn’t giving us the best parts, The School promises to offer some distinct creature effects and genuine atmospheric horror. The premise alone looks to offer horror fans a story that doesn’t feel familiar or tired.

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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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