Ben Wheatley’s new film “A Field in England” is set in seventeenth England. It’s not just a thriller – the Hollywood reporter says it’s “A strikingly original historical thriller spiced with occult mysticism and mind-warping hallucinations”
The seventeenth century was a scary time all round. Many people genuinely believed in witchcraft, the supernatural and a very real presence of the devil. At least this gave them an explanation for wars, freak weather, crop failures and cattle deaths. And others used accusations of witchcraft and devils to settle old scores. You needed have to be a woman to be accused of witchcraft either (though it did help).
The seventeenth century was also the time of the on-off English Civil War, which drove families and neighbours to kill and betray each other. Throw hallucinogens (such as mushroom dust) into this mix – as Ben Wheatley’s “A Field in England” does – and you have the perfect ingredients for a very powerful historical thriller.
“A Field in England” is being released in different formats simultaneously – DVD, TV (Film4) and cinema. Wikipedia says there’s even a specially brewed (Weltons) slow-pour beer to go with it – tagline “Open Up and Let the Devil In.” Sounds like a really good night in (or out) to me….
Think you might become hooked on the seventeenth century? “Because it is Written” is my short story set in seventeenth century England about witchcraft and a blacksmith’s on a mission for revenge.