DIRECTOR Simeon Halligan WRITER Ian Fenton STARS Pollyanna McIntosh; Lee Williams; Joanne Mitchell CINEMA 6 September
To tout White Settlers as a ‘Scottish referendum horror’ is a simplistic nonsense; there is no sociopolitical philosophy to be had here, the script and its characters far too paper-thin to achieve anything but what the film is: a paint-by-numbers home invasion. This much is clear within the first few minutes, as Sarah and Ed, a young couple, view a house for purchase: the estate agent is politely hostile, and informs them of the house’s history as the site of a battle between the Scots and English; and Ed shows his prejudiced view of Scottish countryfolk as he sneers his reluctance to move away from city life. Add a tiresome overemphasis on the lack of phone signal and the first act does not even attempt to move away from cliche.
Thankfully this gives way to a fairly taut second act that, again, approaches nothing new, but sees a fine, believable performance from Pollyanna McIntosh; free of wooden dialogue, she singlehandedly carries the film. The suspense here is meted out well, some good imagery — a moonlit silhouette of one of the pig-men attackers is a nice touch — complementing events to highlight the desperation of Sarah’s situation. All good work is undone with a crude final act, however, which leads to an unintentionally laughable climax.