PLAYHOUSE is a new horror movie that has a lot of potential but doesn’t quite hit the mark. Mostly because the story isn’t entirely coherent and the slow-burn is a bit too slow. A deliciously dark vibe though. Read more in our full Playhouse movie review here!

PLAYHOUSE is a new horror movie with a sinister supernatural element. The main story has just a handful of characters that are pretty unlikeable for the most part.

While having a runtime just shy of 90 minutes, this slow-burner still ends up feeling too slow. Mostly due to the story not really working for me. The shots in this horror movie are gorgeous though and the vibe is deliciously sinister.

Continue reading our full Playhouse movie review below.

The small cast of the Playhouse horror movie

I never mind a small cast since it usually means we get to know the few characters better. I can’t say I felt this was the case with Playhouse but I did get a rather good take on each of them. Mostly, I found out I didn’t really like any of them.

With the character, Jenny, being a delightful exception. I did also feel that she was the most natural one in the cast so that probably meant a lot too. Helen Mackay portrayed the character Jenny and she was a downright scene-stealer to me. 

For good measure, I do not mean to say that the other actors didn’t do good jobs. Quite the contrary, I think they worked rather well. The characters just weren’t really my cup of tea. Also, I should say that the dad, Jack, was very dramatic. However, he was a playwright working on a new project so that explained quite a lot.

The role of Jack Travis (the father) was played by William Holstead, who reminded me a lot of Damon Younger from the Danish horror movie Finale (aka The Ringmaster) from 2018. The daughter, Bee Travis, was portrayed by Grace Courtney, who didn’t have that much to work with for most of the movie. However, she did well with what she had.

Playhouse – Horror Movie Review

Father and daughter around the same age?

It was a disastrously huge issue for me that the actors portraying father and daughter look to be ten years apart at the most. Whether the daughter looks older than her age or the dad looks much younger, I don’t know. And whether they are actually just a few years apart, I don’t know either. 

I do, however, know that they do not look like they could be parent and child. Also, I’m not entirely sure why the daughter has gone to live with her father in an old Scottish castle rather than stay with her mother in London. That part never made sense to me either.

For good measure, I will say that it certainly helped when another character asked the daughter, Bee, if her dad had her when he was 15 years old. Just to have some acknowledgment of this age issue was a good thing.

Watch Playhouse on VOD now

Playhouse was written and directed by filmmakers and brothers Fionn Watts and Toby Watts. This is their feature film debut and I will definitely acknowledge the potential of their vision. To me, the slow-burn element of their story took over too much and got in the way of the story.

Still, Fionn Watts and Toby Watts show a definite flair for the dark and sinister elements that hit the viewer straight-on. Some scenes worked extremely well which is probably why I was annoyed when others didn’t work as well.

If you enjoy horror movies that take place in old castles in the countryside (or very rural Scotland, to be precise), then Playhouse is definitely worth checking out. For future films from the Watts brothers, I just hope their story and (especially) characters will be more fleshed out. A really good story with fascinating characters is the best starting point.

Playhouse is out on VOD in the US and Canada from November 17, 2020.


Writers & Directors: Fionn Watts & Toby Watts
Stars: William Holstead, Grace Courtney, James Rottger, Helen Mackay


Playhouse centres around a notorious horror writer, who moves into an ancient castle with his teenage daughter, to work on his next play; only to face terrifying consequences when his daughter falls prey to a Supernatural evil lurking within the castle walls.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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