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DVD Review

DVD cover

Patrol Men


Starring: Chloe Van Harding, Josh Golga and Anthony Abuah
Crabtree Films
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Available 28 March 2011

Peyton Island is apparently a quaint little community off the mainland of Britain. They live by old values, and that includes a nightly curfew enforced by the Patrol Men, after killings had taken place years before and the legendary perpetrator had supposedly never been found. One girl questions the way of life, and sets out to get to the bottom of the curfew’s origins. This involves questioning an insane old man who might just know more than he’s saying - if he’s permitted to speak. Obtaining the required help is a dangerous matter, as proceeding beyond restricted confines is highly illegal...

The idea that an island off the coast of Britain could have a culture and society so different from the mainland is, of course, at best stretched. Yes, you could cite the Northern Ireland of not too many years ago as an example, but British troops, or at least a heavy police presence would have been on the island before you could say, “I’ve got a great idea for a film.” But what the hell, it works.

The use of gas masks as a symbol of menace has been used effectively before. The first time I can remember it being used was in Pink Floyd’s The Wall film, in a Gerald Scarfe animation sequence; although it has been utilised more recently in the 2005 Doctor Who episode The Empty Child. It’s very effective here, as the figures are spotted individually at a distance just watching. When they walk it is slowly but with purpose. Bearing in mind they are supposed to be the protectors of the people and enforcers of the nightly curfew, everybody gives them a wide berth or hides until they have passed. This is what the film hinges on, because the original reason for this enforcement is pretty flimsy - especially as the events happened so long ago.

The fact that writer/directors David Campion and Ben Simpson have put together a supremely watchable horror thriller on a shoestring budget is to be commended, but Patrol Men is good without being brilliant. There’s nothing too original or different going on here, but it is intriguing enough to keep you watching. As for the inevitable twist ending, it’s totally superfluous and not a little nonsensical.


Ty Power

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