They let me write another movie! This one’s called UNWELCOME and it’s directed by the wonderful Jon Wright and was released in cinemas 27th January 2023 by Warner Bros in the UK and on March 8th by Wellgo in the USA. It’s rated 15 in the UK, and R in the USA.

It’s now available to buy on digital in the UK on the usual platforms, including Apple and Amazon. It should be available internationally on digital platforms, too (search for Unwelcome on your preferred provider — it’s on Paramount+ in Australia, for example).

Here’s the quick synopsis…

Londoners Maya and Jamie (played by Hannah John-Kamen and Douglas Booth) escape their urban nightmare by moving to the tranquility of rural Ireland – only to discover malevolent, murderous goblins lurking in the gnarled, ancient wood at the foot of their new garden. Additional cast includes Golden Globe nominee Colm Meaney, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell (DERRY GIRLS), Chris Walley (YOUNG OFFENDERS), and Kristian Nairn (GAME OF THRONES).

And here’s the trailer…

And yes, that’s me in trailer at 1:03… I have no idea what the editors were thinking when they put me in trailer! “I know what’ll get bums on seats… that pasty flabby guy!”

I’m really proud of the finished film. Jon and the cast and crew have done an astonishing job of bringing the malevolent redcaps to life and making the lives of poor Maya and Jamie a living nightmare for our entertainment.

If you fancy reading a copy of the screenplay, you can download a PDF here.

Here’s what people are saying about UNWELCOME…

This is Straw Dogs by way of Fraggle Rock, essentially; but the script by Wright and Mark Stay weaves in enough anxieties, both contemporary and primal, to sustain suspense even amid the silliness. It adds up to an enjoyably unpretentious Irish-ish folk horror. And not a shamrock in sight.

Ellen E Jones, GUARDIAN

Unwelcome unfolds in the fairyland where Straw Dogs and Wrong Turn meet Irish folk horror, as an English woman comes to realise the sacrifices that it takes to become a true Irish mammy.

Anton Bitel, Little White Lies

Central to the film’s success is the double whammy from Wright’s tight direction and the lean and mean story/screenplay from Mark Stay and Wright… Unwelcome starts by unsettling the viewer, and it never lets up.

Jim McLeod, Gingernuts of Horror

“Unwelcome will work its way into your heart, one tiny stab wound at a time.” 8/10

Michael Talbot-Haynes, Film Threat

While the movie has some salient points to make about masculinity, particularly of the toxic variety, and it does indeed come through with excellent creature-feature payoff (not to mention gore galore).

Cheryl Eddy, Gizmodo

The ingenious blend of traditional and modern techniques that bring (the Redcaps) to life are brilliantly executed and their practical interactions with the actors are a genuine thrill to watch, leading to a truly insane, blood-soaked finale.

John Nugent, Empire

Unwelcome is one of the most wildly entertaining, terrifying and funny horror comedies since Barbarian.

NYC Movie Guru

The suspense works and the mix of grue, cruelty and eccentric wit is distinctive.

Kim Newman, SciFi Now

This is a very exciting new film in British genre filmmaking. How could you say no to a film in which Colm Meaney insists everyone calls him ‘Daddy’? Unwelcome works as a potent horror film with something to say about our modern anxieties and masculinity.

Maria Lattila, Why Now

Unwelcome is a welcome addition to the folk horror cannon, with an army of memorable monsters delivering a series of equally memorable kills.

Chris Tilly, Dexerto

At the intersection between Gremlins and Straw Dogs, a folk-horror tradition of a clash between urbanity and rurality, much like Garland’s Men, rears its head as the central theme, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place reverberates through the feature via the heroics of John-Kamen’s heavily pregnant Maya, while its hellish finale evokes the cultish symbolism of Ari Aster’s Midsommar.

Matthew McMillan, The Upcoming

Jon Wright’s fun home-invasion horror is built on fertile, if familiar, ground… the story ski-jumps from a sombre allegory of the trauma caused by abuse, abortion and gentrification into a full-on goblin gore-fest. A potential cult favourite.

Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, The Times

Throughout the film there is an undertone of menace and tension that is carefully built layer on layer with each scene until it finally explodes in the final act.

Fantasy BookNerd Blog

It’s a a masterclass in how you use character to drive story — writer Mark Stay and co-writer and director Jon Wright know exactly what they’re doing, who it’s being done to and why. It’s a terrifying journey, but one well worth taking.

Alasdair Stuart, The Full Tilt


I understand that Twitter is not the real world and Mr Musk is doing his best to turn it into a digital hellscape, but it was great to see so much love for UNWELCOME after its preview screenings on Tuesday 24th Jan. Here’s a sample of my favourite comments (click on the image to embiggen)…


We’re on the cover of FILM STORIES (Feb 2023) and there’s a five-page feature on how the film was made. You can order/subscribe here…

SFX, January 2023

Empire, January 2023

Empire also had a fun trailer breakdown with Jon Wright here.

Jon went into a bit more detail on the trailer with Yahoo here.

Lowdown Magazine, January 2023


Here’s a special Deep Dive of the Bestseller Experiment with me and director Jon Wright answering listener questions on the making of the film…

I was interviewed by BBC South East and they make me out to be a millionaire. I’m not. The money went on the film’s budget. Honest! Okay, it was just resting in my account…

Here’s Jon Wright on the Film Stories podcast with Simon Brew. It’s a great retrospective of his career so far and they say some nice things about me…

There’s a fun interview over on Gingernuts go Horror where I reveal who would win in a fight: the Redcaps of Unwelcome, or the Witches of Woodville. Click here to read the whole thing.

Sitges Film Festival Premiere

We had a wonderful premiere at the Sitges Film Festival in October, 2021. I blogged about it here.

All photos by Miguel Anxo, courtesy of Sitges Film Festival.


Posters for you to cut out and keep or whatever it is you crazy kids do with this stuff these days…