From first glance, the film looks like it could be just another scary movie about a haunted house … and it is. While it is based on the only haunting in the United States that has resulted in the death of a human being, it doesn’t make the plot any more interesting. The main story revolves around the Bell family, living in the 19th century. John Bell, played by Donald Sutherland, does wrong by another villager in a business trade and the man places a curse upon the Bell family. What results is a typical haunting story which leaves you wondering – where is the originality?
There are a few upsides to this lackluster horror film, however. While the narrative was predictable, the acting was above and beyond what typical horror fans expect. Impressive performances by Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, and Rachel Hurd-Wood will hold the audience’s interest, even if the narrative does not. It was hard to take these serious actors seriously when you feel like laughing at a majority of the dialogue. Are scary movies supposed to be funny? Also, having Adrian Biddle as the cinematographer didn’t hurt the film’s appearance. Biddle’s past work on V for Vendetta and The Mummy Returns gives him far more credit than director Courtney Solomon (Dungeons and Dragons).
If you’re up for a predictable scary movie about things that go bump in the night, go see Scary Movie 4. It’s far easier to understand, and it’s actually appropriate to laugh at it.