The Faeries of Blackheath Woods, a short horror film written and directed by Ciaran Foy, is a depiction of Classic Irish Folklore revealing a darker version of the fairy realm, where the fairies are meant to be respected and feared.
This Irish made short film, created in 2006, is about Melissa, a young girl who is having a picnic with her parents. When her mother warns her to stay nearby, she ignores her, and follows the fairies into Blackheath Woods where she is lost forever in the fairy realm.
I liked how this story diverted from the glamorized version of the fae that we are familiar with today. Modern fairies are
typically portrayed as beautiful glittery pixies, fluttering around in revealing outfits for the delight of small children. Blackheath Woods almost seems like a parody of that fluffed up fairy stereotype since it begins like a common children’s fairy movie. It is set in what appears to be the 1940’s and the main character is a small girl who is enchanted by the fairies. Then, the story diverts from the norm by making Melissa an obnoxious brat and the fairies ghastly and menacing, giving us the message that not all fairies are safe and cute.
I have heard that many people in the European countryside, predominantly Irish, still believe in old fairy legends where the fae are sinister and not to be messed with. An example of a well known legend that is still kept in popular belief today is screaming banshees, who have been said to be wailing fairies who take on the form of a woman to warn people the night of a death. Another example of a current legend that is more frightening to me are changelings, which are said to be sick/fake fairy children used to replace a stolen child. Still another legend is the existence of fairy rings, which are believed to be irreversible portals into the faerie realm.
Since they believed in those stories, people were terrified of the fae and were careful not to offend them. They also went out of their way to show them respect by leaving offerings and referring to them as “the good neighbors.” I’m guessing that Irishman Ciaran Foy either believes in these legends or has heard them before since his pixies seem to bring to mind these stories.
The Faeries of Blackheath Woods has won nine best short awards from international festivals, and has been shown at over 40 film festivals worldwide.