Ruth Platt’s Martyrs Lane centres around 10-year-old Leah (Kiera Thompson) who lives in a bustling vicarage with her family. One day, a spectral child (Sienna Sayer) with feathered wings on her back appears and befriends Leah. When the child’s visits become regular, they begin to play a game where Leah is sent on nightly tasks, soon uncovering dark secrets about herself and her mother.

There’s a childlike wonder in Martyrs Lane thanks to the camera moving about the world at Leah’s height most of the time, tilted upwards so we’re as short as her, often cutting people off at the torso, showing us how everything and everyone towers above her – thus allowing a peek into the mind of this young, confused girl. This unique perspective makes everything all the more urgent since we can only piece together information that a child can take in, and when night falls, we are reminded of how much the unknown within the darkness can be frightening at that age. Every visual choice is purposeful, such as mirrors being used throughout to show people’s reflections when they walk by, hinting that the truth of what’s happening around Leah will soon be revealed. The sound design solidifies this truly haunting atmosphere. 

Thompson and Sayer are brilliant young actresses, and their embodiment of Leah and this mysterious child through the delivery of every line of dialogue is believable, with Denise Gough tying it all together with a visceral portrayal of a mother’s grief.

There are ghosts in this home that arise from deeply buried secrets, and their presence is felt at every turn. Martyrs Lane contains the traditional elements of a horror film, but at its core, it’s a story of loss and a heartbreaking tale between a mother and her daughter.



CAST: Denise Gough, Sienna Sayer, Kiera Thompson

DIRECTOR: Ruth Platt

WRITER: Ruth Platt

SYNOPSIS: A nightly visitor brings 10-year-old Leah comfort, but soon realises that her visitor might be very dangerous.