According to the film’s opening, this was based on a true story! Ok. According to the film’s poster there is a noose hanging from a tree in the garden of a creepy looking house. No spoiler alert here apparently, it’s on the poster despite being a major plot line in the story. Not looking good so far! Ok. Paranormal investigators and husband ‘n’ wife team Ed and Lorraine Warren present a seminar where they shock students with their weird spooky footage from previous jobs of theirs. These people are calm professionals when it comes to witnessing witchcraft and the paranormal. So I guess that must explain their hysterics later in the film then. And our lucky victims tonight are a family, husband and wife with their five lovely daughters. That’s right they’ve moved into their dream home with the plan of settling down. Of course, they’ve not had the house surveyed or they would have been au fait with it’s horrific, terrifying past, surely?
Inevitably the restless spirits in the house start to play up, first gradually so not even the audience notice, and eventually till they’re spinning the children about by their hair. Yet no one in the family suggests moving? Nope, they opt for our husband and wife team, whom suggest getting the Vatican involved! Geez! Oh and there is an evil looking doll. Yup, that ol chestnut!
If you’ve never seen a horror film in your life then I’d say give this one a whirl. But horror connoisseurs will find this film frustratingly predictable as it appears to feast off every cliché in the book. From corny lines to borderline plagiarism, this film tries so desperately hard to be a horror film it looses us. One minute we’re in Hitchcocks The Birds, the next minute we’ve an establishing shot of a house that’s almost alive, reminiscent of Amityville. Cut to a Kubricesque hall shot and then we’re doing an exorcism like in that film, what was it’s name….? Oh yeah The Exorcist! It’s a typical example that, no matter how you try to pack it to the hilt, there is more to a film than formula and devices. A good horror films requires us to believe and when your lay on the cliché this thick, you just end up rolling your eyes heavenwards and wish that the ground swallowed you whole rather than the characters on the screen.
If you’re looking for a good Halloween film, you can do better than this. Check out our reviews of these other spooky films.