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Leah, 10, live in a large vicarage, full of lost souls and the needy. In the day the house is bustling with people; at night it is dark, empty, a space for Leah’s nightmares to creep into. A small, nightly visitor brings Leah comfort, but soon she will realize that her little visitor offers knowledge that might be very, very dangerous.

Starring: Denise Gough, Steven Cree, Kiera Thompson, and Sienna Sayer

Directed and written by: Ruth Platt

A Fantasia International Film Festival Review

  Some people live happily on “Martyrs Lane,” while others just can’t find happiness. Leah (Kiera Thompson) wants to be a happy little girl, but her family isn’t making it easy. Her mother Sarah (Denise Gough) and father Thomas (Steven Cree) are caught up in their own worlds, and don’t give her the time she needs. Not helping is an older sister that bothers her whenever possible. 

  Leave a little kid alone and they will find trouble and that’s what happens to Leah. While exploring the home she finds a piece of a special bracelet. She also manages to steal something that turns out very important to her mother. Both are clues to a mystery she’s about to get caught up in.

  The most intriguing parts of this film are when Leah speaks with another young girl who visits her at night. Yes, she’s a ghost, but a friendly one at least to start. This mysterious girl seems to know something about Leah’s family, and drops clues to Leah on where to find more of this bracelet. The closer Leah comes to the truth the ghost with angel wings becomes darker. The film doesn’t go to extreme levels of darkness, but this is where the audience will find most of the horror.

  Behind the ghost story is the other important aspect of the film. It’s about grief, and how it affects the family. Leah might not be going through it, but the others around her are, and it’s definitely effecting her relationships with them. They don’t really take her feelings into consideration, and the final moments show that. Their lack of attention to her opens the door to the mystery she solves, and her relationship with the ghost.

  As “Martyrs Lane” comes to an end, the audience should appreciate what they’ve witnessed from young actresses Kiera and Sienna. Their characters’ relationship is vital to the film, and they’re on point from the start. Not only is the acting great, but keeping them mostly in Leah’s room, and keeping it dark just adds to their strange conversations. The overall mystery to solve might not be to difficult to figure out, but that’s fine so that the point of the film can be taken in. Grief is a tough subject to tackle, but it’s done well here. With that, I give it 3 pools of blood.


“Martyrs Lane” played as part of the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival.

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