Movie Review: An Irish girl is haunted by the ghosts of buried babies in “The Perished”

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Here’s a wee Irish horror tale that fails as drama, fails as horror and doesn’t really work as anti-abortion propaganda, either.

You can’t even be certain of which of those was top priority in “The Perished,” a dull, unaffectingly-acted story of Ireland in the last days of its abortion ban.

A young woman (Courtney McKeon) gets pregnant, gets an abortion in the UK, is kicked out of her house by her stridently Catholic mom (Noelle Clark) and then is haunted by staying in a former “mothers and daughters” house.

That’s where the Irish theocracy sent the unmarried and pregnant, part of the whole “Magdalene Laundries” scandal. And when the laundries were finally closed and the Church finally lost some of its hold on government and the culture, the occasional hunter of real-estate bargains snapped up such places as a country house.

That’s where Sarah’s gay BFF Davet (Paul Fitzgerald) takes her, to recuperate and relax and plan what to do with her life.

The ex-boyfriend who put her in this fix, Shane (Fiach Kunz) doesn’t know about any of this. But when he finally is filled in and comes to visit, he has something else he shares with Sarah.

They both hear the baby screams. They both have the nightmares — bloody, monstrous corpses and spectral children visiting.

No more of this “It’s all in your head.” But because the script operates outside of the realm of logic, Sarah keeps saying “I’m happy here. I’m not ready to go back to it all. ”

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The frights aren’t frightening, the shouting matches about “You’ve brought shame on our family” are dated, the performances close to amateurish and the whole thing looks like it was shot on a cell phone.

What a waste of a half-interesting idea, and of Ireland as a location.

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MPAA Rating: TV-MA, sex, profanity, horrific images, smoking

Cast: Courtney McKeon, Paul Fitzgerald, Noelle Clarke, Fiach Kunz

Credits: Written and directed by Paddy Murphy. A Celtic Badger release.

Running time: 1:31

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