List Film

Outcast (2 stars)

Dreadful script and cack-handed direction renders film unintelligible despite strong cast


(18) 97min

This Scottish/Irish co-production shot in Edinburgh and Galway boasts an intriguing premise and a great cast, but its grim supernatural subject matter comes across as, at best, tedious, at worst, laughable. That’s a real shame given there’s plenty of potential in the story of Irish witch Mary (Kate Dickie) who’s on the run with her teenage son (Niall Bruton) and pursued relentlessly by her one-time lover Cathal (James Nesbitt), a nasty piece of work who’s been granted the powers of a warlock and given a sidekick (Ciarán Menamin) by the coven who want the boy back/dead. The game of cat and mouse, or warlock and witch, plays out in an Edinburgh housing estate, where local Scots-Romany girl Petronella (Hanna Stanbridge) befriends Mary’s son, who hides a supernatural secret of his own, and in a derelict factory where Cathal practices his gruesome magic.

Writer-director team Colm and Tom McCarthy clearly have a vision, but their dreadful script and cack-handed direction renders the finished film unintelligible as either thriller or chiller. Not even the presence of James Cosmo’s reliable old chops nor Dr Who’s current assistant Karen Gillan can save it.


  • 2009
  • UK/Ireland
  • 18
  • Directed by: Colm McCarthy
  • Written by: Colm McCarthy, Tom McCarthy
  • Cast: James Nesbitt, Kate Dickie, James Cosmo, Niall Bruton, Hannah Stanbridge, Karen Gillan

The soul and savagery of An American Werewolf in London; blacker magic than The Blair Witch Project; and a higher red cell count than Twilight. Oh, and all set in Edinburgh? Already a hit at the supercool US festival South by Southwest, this dynamic feature debut rips up the rulebook for UK horror with its intelligence…


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