Down Terrace

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Down Terrace
Directed by Ben Wheatley
Produced by Andrew Starke
Written by Ben Wheatley
Robin Hill
Starring Robin Hill
Robert Hill
Julia Deakin
Music by Jim Williams
Cinematography Laurie Rose
Edited by Robin Hill
Ben Wheatley
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures
Release date
  • 21 September 2009 (2009-09-21)[1]
Running time
93 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $30,000[2]
Box office $9,812[2]

Down Terrace is a 2009 British crime drama film directed by Ben Wheatley and starring Robin Hill, Robert Hill and Julia Deakin.


Upon release from prison, Bill (Robert Hill) and his son Karl (Robin Hill) arrive home at Down Terrace in Brighton. With the help of his wife Maggie (Julia Deakin), Bill decides to find the rat in his criminal operation and a tale of recrimination, betrayal and murder ensues. Meanwhile, Karl grows increasingly edgy and uncomfortable with his dysfunctional family. When Karl's girlfriend Valda shows up pregnant, Karl announces that they plan to get married, but his parents disapprove and demand that he get a paternity test. Bill's employee Garvey tells Karl that Valda dated Garvey's brother for a while recently, which enrages Karl; Karl murders Garvey and enlists his uncle Eric's help in secretly burying the body. Worried about Garvey's unexplained disappearance and that a hitman, Pringle, might talk about a previous attempt on Garvey's life, Bill orders Eric to murder Pringle and his mother, leaving his three-year-old son fatherless. Eric himself is poisoned by his sister Maggie because she doubts his loyalty. The carnage attracts Jony, a London gangster, who tells Bill that the lack of subtlety and stability has put Karl and his family at risk; Maggie promises to rein in Bill. Karl, who suspects that his parents have murdered Eric, accuses them of making deals with the police after he hears a death-bed confession from Berman, their lawyer. Eventually, Valda talks Karl into murdering his parents: Karl shoots his father to death, and Valda stabs his mother.



Down Terrace premiered at the 2009 Fantastic Fest.[1] It was released on DVD on 17 May 2011.[3]


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 85% of 34 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.7/10.[4] Metacritic rated it 68/100.[5] Lou Lumenick gave the film three stars out of four, saying about Ben Wheatley that "He may finally get Hollywood's attention with this profanely funny comedy he shot in just eight days".[6] Stephen Holden of The New York Times called it a "grimly amusing" and "persuasively acted" film that "has too many narrative gaps for its pieces to cohere satisfactorily."[7] Anthony Quinn of The Independent rated it 4/5 stars and called it a "genuinely different" gangster film that shows great promise for Wheatley.[8] Robert Bell of Exclaim! called it "an anomalous and consistently hilarious, if flawed, comedy of idiosyncrasy and misanthropy."[9] David Parkinson of Empire rated it 3/5 stars and called it a "bleakly hilarious reclamation of the British crime genre from peddlers of mockney muppetry."[10] Philip French of The Guardian called it a "highly entertaining, low-budget black comedy".[11] Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "There's a deadpan streak of larceny coursing through the corroded pipes of "Down Terrace," a darkly comedic approach to the British working-class social realism inhabited by Ken Loach and Mike Leigh."[12] Ronnie Sheib of Variety wrote, "Cleverly channeling gangster tropes through a British kitchen-sink soap opera, TV scribe-helmer Ben Wheatley has concocted a nifty black comedy, with a little help from his friends, in Down Terrace."[13] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it a "distinctive and idiosyncratic" film that "is long on talk but generates its own internal rhythms and pace that makes it feel bracing and vibrantly alive."[14] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly rated the film A- and called it "a dark and hilarious thwomping of the whole miserablist British gangster genre."[15] Jason Anderson of the Toronto Star called it "an enjoyably nasty piece of business" that is "both horrific and hilarious".[16]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Down Terrace won the Raindance Award at the British Independent Film Awards 2009[17] and the Next Wave Awards for Best Feature and Best Screenplay at the Fantastic Fest 2009.[18]

On 8 February 2011 Ben Wheatley won the award of Most Promising Newcomer for Down Terrace at the Evening Standard British Film Awards for 2010.[19]


  1. ^ a b King, Susan (2010-10-15). "'Down Terrace' director Ben Wheatley pulls out a stopwatch to time this criminal caper". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  2. ^ a b "Down Terrace". Box office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  3. ^ Mack, Andrew (2011-05-03). "Evokative Films Releases DOWN TERRACE On DVD May 17th!". Twitch Film. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  4. ^ "Down Terrace". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  5. ^ "Down Terrace". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  6. ^ Lumenick, Lou (2010-10-14). "It's Brit with wit". New York Post. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  7. ^ Holden, Stephen (2010-10-14). "Trying to Sniff Out a Rat Hiding in a Toxic World". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  8. ^ Quinn, Anthony (2010-07-30). "Down Terrace (15)". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  9. ^ Bell, Robert (2010-11-11). "Down Terrace". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  10. ^ Parkinson, David. "Down Terrace". Empire. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  11. ^ French, Philip (2010-07-31). "Down Terrace". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  12. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael (2010-10-14). "Down Terrace -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  13. ^ Sheib, Ronnie (2010-03-24). "Review: 'Down Terrace'". Variety. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  14. ^ Thomas, Kevin (2010-10-15). "Movie review: 'Down Terrace'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  15. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (2010-10-27). "Down Terrace (2010)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  16. ^ Anderson, Jason (2010-11-11). "Down Terrace". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  17. ^ "2009 Winners". British Independent Film Awards. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  18. ^ Kelly, Kevin (2009-09-30). "Fantastic Fest Announces 2009 Award Winners". Cinematical. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  19. ^ "The best of British cinema at Evening Standard Film Awards". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 18 March 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2011. 

External links[edit]