The Secret (2008)
Directed by Jon Rosling
Starring Steven Coward, Emily Batchford, and Nicola Haldane
Isolation never feels more devastating than when you are surrounded by your peers and feel completely alone. As a child, this feeling rears its ugly head too often and leaves us feeling alone and misunderstood. School as a kid can be the realization of all these fears at once. The frustrating feeling of being alone is what The Secret capitalizes upon and shows the horror it can induce. And what horror there is.
David is your average schoolboy trying to get by in class. After trying numerous times to answer a teacher’s questions unsuccessfully, he notices that his fellow classmates seem to be actively ignoring him for some unknown purpose. There’s something sinister about this school and David has to find out. Horror films use children for a reason. In our minds, they feel so innocent and incorruptible that seeing them take a sinister turn is inherently frightening. While The Secret doesn’t do anything revolutionary with these kids, they are still creepy as all hell. But the main
thrills don’t come from them. Though these pale, shallow faced Harry Potter lookalikes are creepy, the real scares come from the dark enclosed hallways of the school. Much like Alien, the cramped spaces mixed with otherworldly entities roaming the corridors. Combined with an eerily creepy score and a similarly scary atmosphere and you have a solid ten minutes of thrills.
The film is well put together and easily one of the better indie films out there, but it doesn’t really bring anything incredibly new to the table. The twist that you feel coming from the opening sequence is not by any means groundbreaking, but it is well executed with an awesome final shot before the credits roll. The film’s short runtime is another hurdle that gets in the way of good storytelling. There is an interesting mythos behind the goings on at this school that we barely get to see because the film is rushing to tell the more fundamental parts of the story. That’s disappointing because I would have loved to see more about the world these kids inhabit. For now, I’ll just have to hope for a sequel. While The Secret does not kick down any doors per say, it’s still an interesting film and one that I easily recommend if you have ten minutes to put aside. RDR gives The Secret a 7 out of 10.