‘Eight For Silver’: the Gothic creature feature storming Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)

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'Eight For Silver': the Gothic creature feature storming Netflix

In the misty expanse of Netflix’s eerie offerings, a creature feature has lurked its way to the top. This Sean Ellis horror flick, high on suspense, may have divided critics as well as audiences, but that has never stopped ardent fans of the genre, especially those with streaming subscriptions.

Eight for Silver serves up a chilling fusion of gothic horror and historical trauma. Despite its accolades for atmospheric world-building, this cinematic venture has stumbled in its portrayal of Romani people, which follows a familiar horror trope but a not-so-nuanced one at that.

Directed, written, and co-produced by Sean Ellis, Eight for Silver stars Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie, and Roxane Duran. Set in rural France during the 19th century, the film unfurls a tale of terror intertwined with the savagery of a werewolf’s curse.

Inspired by the grisly saga of the Beast of Gévaudan, Ellis’s Eight for Silver (also known as The Cursed) is like a dark and gritty version of Downton Abbey if there were werewolves and gory deaths in the Julian Fellowes creation. The film thrusts audiences into a world besieged by bloodshed, where the fangs of a wolf hold the key to salvation and damnation alike.

Eight for Silver begins with the harrowing fate of a Romani clan slaughtered by the ruthless 19th-century land baron, Seamus Laurent (Alistair Petrie). Digging deep into the trauma porn ethos, the baron also orders the dismemberment of one of the Romani elders, who is then erected as a scarecrow to serve as a warning. This unleashes a curse upon the land and Laurent’s family in particular. In the coming days, his son goes missing, townfolks start having disturbing nightmares, and then come more brutal deaths.

As the film unfolds, it oscillates between art horror (ala Robert Egger’s The Witch) and CGI spectacle, straddling the line between cerebral intrigue and visceral thrills. While some may find its atmospheric world-building thrilling, others will find it harder to dig their fangs into a film full of formulaic shock scares and digital embellishments.

Despite its flaws, the film does have the whispered promise of terror in the night. It has, after all, risen to the top ten films chart in the UK on Netflix. Currently, it is nestled at the tenth spot. Will it be able to break it into the global top ten charts or climb higher? Only time will tell.

If you feel beckoned by the siren song of a creature feature, then by all means, tune in. But do it at your own risk.