Broken – UK, 2016

‘She’s dying to take care of you.’

Broken is a 2016 British psychological drama film directed by Shaun Robert Smith from a screenplay co-written with producer Craig Conway (Estranged, The Descent). The latter also stars alongside Morjana Alaoui (Haters; ScintillaMartyrs), Mel Raido (The Disappointments Room), Patrick Toomey, Stephanie Thomas and Natalie Louise Garcia.

Evie (Morjana Alaoui), a 25-year-old agency support worker, is desperate for a better life to escape her past demons. Left with few options, she takes the job of looking after John (Mel Raido), a bitter and resentful tetraplegic who wants to do nothing more than party.

Drunk and high, John and his friends make Evie’s life a living hell and she finds herself trapped and the centre of aggressive drunk Dougie’s (Craig Conway), attention. Scared for her life, and haunted by the nightmares she was running from, Evie starts to slowly crack…

The film is released on DVD on 8 May, 2017 by Gilt Edge Media.

Buy: Amazon.co.uk

Reviews:

“It plays like a social realist drama for the most part, but some creepy visions and a cathartic finale deliver more traditional genre thrills without ever diminishing the serious, and understated, work done elsewhere. Likewise, the music, from English two-piece Hyde & Beast […] are great and the upbeat tones are juxtaposed chillingly with Evie’s crummy situation.” Benedict Seal, Bloody Disgusting

“This is a powerful, angry film, low on budget but high on raw performances. Mel Raido as John and Morjana Alaoui […] as Evie deliver very different but equally strong performances. John’s drab, squalid house, now taken up with all the accoutrements of 24 hour medical care, is a dismal battleground for the war of will between patient and carer.” David Dent, Dark Eyes of London

“With nuanced characters and outstanding central performances, it’s a hard-hitting slice of darkness that can be marked up as a solid success despite the unpalatably sour taste of the final stretch.” Gareth Jones, Dread Central

” ...Broken probably has a decent psychological thriller up its sleeve but it just doesn’t have the script or style to pull it off. Shaun Robert Smith does create a grim level of staging which he can build on as a horror director but the story and writing here lacks both incident and tension, unable to tighten the screws of creeping, nasty exploitation horror in the way it wants to.” Tony Black, Flickering Myth

” …deserves credit for portraying the tasks and difficult demands faced by carers and their patients and it doesn’t hold back on its honest depiction. Flawed in parts but a very strong piece that has two confident central performances and slow burning gradually dark portrayal of two changed and broken characters.” James Pemberton, UK Horror Scene

“Not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the imagination, Broken remains a captivating film. Smith forces you to study his characters intently, to empathise with their predicament as they struggle to cling to any last hope of sanity. The conclusion, when it finally comes to release you, is as inevitable as it is strangely satisfying.” John Townsend, Starburst magazine

Filming locations:

Streatham, London, England, UK

Trivia:

From raising the finance to the end of principal photography took just ten weeks.

The film’s working title was The Myth of Hopelessness.

IMDb | Official website

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