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November 23, 2018

Daily Mail [News Article] Young actress who is breaking nation's hearts playing actor's dead mother in £50 Christmas film hailed as better than the John Lewis ad

An award winning young actress has been unmasked as the voice of a mother speaking to her son from beyond the grave in a tear-jerking Christmas viral video.

Natalie Martins, who lives in Surrey, can be heard on the short film that was made for just £50 and shared online in response to John Lewis' big budget production.

The fictional tale, called Love is a Gift, by videographer Phil Beastall, has racked up more than six million views and has won a legion of fans with its emotional message.

November 23, 2018

The Sun [New Article] Actress who plays ‘Mum’ speaking from beyond the grave in £50 Christmas advert revealed

THE real face of the "mum" speaking to her son from beyond the grave in an emotional £50 Christmas advert has been revealed as a young actress from Surrey. Natalie Martins gave the poignant voice over as a man listens to a tape of his tragic mother’s final loving Christmas message. Natalie's moving message of motherly love saw actor Chris Ilston weep as his character heard his beloved mum's voice once more after opening a box of old cassettes

CRUEL SUMMER [Radio Times] Review ****

"While it may be disturbing, the story is never played out for sensationalism - the co-writer/director team of Phillip Escott and Craig Newman demonstrating a delicate touch to turn a potentially unpleasant film into something more thought-provoking. All the cast shine, particularly Danny Miller as chief antagonist Nicholas, who brings a murky rationale to the group's indefensible actions. A horror movie with something to say, Cruel Summer lives up to its name and stays with you by giving bleak substance to a dark story."

CRUEL SUMMER [Flickering Myth] Review ****

"The venomous Julia is given life by Natalie Martins, and if there is any justice in this world (which this film often claims there isn’t), she will be given multiple opportunities off the back of Cruel Summer. She’s simply phenomenal and very convincing in her role, often toeing the line between light and dark. It’s a captivating character study. Danny Miller is fantastic and Natalie Martins is simply sublime. Cruel Summer is an impressive feature debut for Phillip Escott and Craig Newman, and a horrible mirror to hold up to British teen culture."

CRUEL SUMMMER [The Terror Time]

"For me, CRUEL SUMMER is to date the best horror films this year...All four actors deserve high recognition for the reality and inner strength to deal with this material in the ways they did. All truly embraced their characters and took them with a razor edge of control to the limits that I have not seen since Wes Craven’s THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT."

CRUEL SUMMER [Love Horror]

"All the main performances are excellent especially Richard Pawulski but credit is also due to Danny Miller and Natalie Martins who somehow infuse utterly unlikable characters with the tiniest seed of sympathy, relatability and pathos before plunging them into the worst examples of society."

CRUEL SUMMER [The Slaughtered Bird] Interview

Chris Barnes interviews Cruel Summer director Phillip Escott and lead actress Natalie Martins about the film. 

"How on EARTH did you manage all this in 10 days?! Was it pretty much guerilla style?

Natalie – It still blows my mind how we actually completed it in less than ten days! Rehearsals really were a godsend; it meant we weren’t going into scenes completely blind. Things inevitably would change slightly on the day but it was useful to begin a scene having already left the starting blocks. It was a highly collaborative team effort all round so I guess if you surround yourself with a great team of people that are willing to put in the time and hard graft, anything is achievable."


"This is a serious, difficult to endure and impossible to forget film, with a haunting score (that echoes the work of Clint Mansell) and a series of searing performances that are as good if not better than any A-list actor’s work you’ll see this year."

The Horror Happens Radio Show [Radio Interview]

LIVE interview with the Writers, Directors & Cast of the UK film 'Cruel Summer'.
Phillip Escott / Craig Newman / Natalie Martins / Richard Pawulski

US Radio Show: The Horror Happens Radio Show presented by Jay Kay. 

CRUEL SUMMER [The Slaughtered Bird] Review 4/5

"Despite most of the cast being young the acting is realistic and compelling. It’s inspired by an actual case from 2005, which is perhaps the most horrific thing about it — it’s unsettling to realize that it can be so easy for a situation to get out of control, or perhaps to realize that the situation was never under control in the first place.

I’ll give it four out of five. There’s an excellent juxtaposition of the beauty of the woods and water and the cruelty of Nicholas and his semi-reluctant allies that draws the viewer in, despite wanting to look away at times. Sometimes teenagers can be amazingly terrifying."

THE CORPSE SERIES [The Horror Freak]

"One thing that also has to be mentioned is just how talented the cast of the movie is. Although The Corpse Series features fairly unknown stars, they all did a fantastic job. James Button, who also co-directed the film, delivered a fun and quirky performance, which Jason Mahone helped to keep grounded in reality. Natalie Martins also gives an exciting performance that truly stands out, especially towards the end of the film ... We are pretty confident in saying that The Corpse Series is the best horror-comedy short of the year, perhaps even the decade."


"The Corpse Series shows what can be done with a small budget, lots of creativity and a solid cast."

CRUEL SUMMER [Horror Society] Review 10/10

"Cruel Summer is the most emotionally disturbing movie I’ve ever seen. It’s a gut-wrenching, haunting look into the pitch black resesses of the human mind. It’s extra-ordinarily acted, cinematically perfect and a movie that will stick with viewers well after the credits roll... This movie is powerful." 

CRUEL SUMMER [The Hollywood News] Review ****

"Heartbreaking, powerful and truly sad, Cruel Summer is an emotional juggernaut that highlights just how truly terrible the human race can be."

CRUEL SUMMER [UK Horror Scene Review] 10/10

"The performances here are outstanding. Danny Miller evokes Jack O’Connell and Tom Hardy in his volcanic, unstable Nicholas, not satisfied unless he is causing trouble, and determined to drag others with him. Natalie Martins is possibly the most troubling character, displaying sociopathic tendencies as she puts on a different mask for everyone she meets, and willing to do anything to make Nicholas happy. Reece Douglas is the guy who is good deep down but does he have the courage to do what’s right. He is the moral compass, and while his decisions aren’t always right, they are understandable. Richard Pawulski gives a brave and authentic portrayal of autism, never slipping out of character and never once demanding our sympathies. But he gets them anyway. Every performance and every line and every action felt authentic, lived in, real."

CRUEL SUMMER [Dread Central] Review ****

"Each and every performance in this presentation is noteworthy. This movie, with its unflinching barbaric instances of vehemence, proves that you don’t need a bunch of makeup or CGI in order to put a monster on display – you just need to get a look at how the world works in today’s society."

CRUEL SUMMER [Horror Talk] Review ****

"This is what real horror is – not the fantasy monsters we create for our entertainment – the fictional Vampires, Zombies, Frankenstein creatures or Werewolves – this is the human monster that sits next to us on the bus or in the classroom, the one that stands chatting to a friend on the phone or smiling at a stranger, all the while planning to do harm. Cruel Summeris a movie about what really horrifies us - the primitive, uncivilised impulse of the human animal towards violence and sadism."

CRUEL SUMMER [Arrow In The Head] Review 8/10

"This is a fantastic indie thriller that will get under your skin and hurt you, and when the chance arises I highly recommend that you let it do so."

THE BETTER MAN [Best For Film] Article

"The script is well paced and impressively tight, blending deadpan Inbetweeners-style humour with genuine pathos, and it’s generally well handled – particularly by the enviably sharp David Sykes, his beautiful and coolly compelling on-screen love interest Natalie Martins and Duncan Vicat-Brown, whose consummate command over his face’s every twitch makes his frequent close-ups a joy. Tindall and Bennett’s joy at the prospect of shooting for a proper screen is readily apparent, and their grasp of cinema lives up to the challenge."

MIRACLE GROW [Hit The Floor] Article

"The film has a vibrant insanity to it with a heavy and obvious emphasis on production design. Whacky and quite literally colourful characters inhabit what is a sporadic jaunt into an equally unhinged lifestyle. The main applause needs to go to show stealer Natalie Martins. Playing the lead of Sofia in this crazy drugfest, this young actress won herself and the film the Best Actress Award at the London Independent Film Festival in April (2013). Rivaled against films from all over the world and against casts of great talent, Martins won the award acting in her feature debut."

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