A near miss.

Writer-Director Matt Hish’s last movie, The Blackout, was a comedy I didn’t find funny, yet with Haunting of the Innocent, which is far from flawless, showed that he can make a good-looking, stylish movie. I actually enjoyed the first half of the film but found myself waiting on something important to happen. Instead, I was treated to the what felt like longest middle act I’ve ever seen. The 140 minutes felt like 440 minutes, spoiling all the suspense Hish had accrued.

When the end-game was finally revealed I felt completely confused and rather annoyed. There were threads to the story that appeared to go nowhere or were never properly exploited. Like the crows that kept popping up, or the grandfather who was temporarily possessed to simply destroy the protective symbol on the door-frame.

Haunting of the Innocent
Directed by
Matt Hish
Judd Nelson, Jessica Morris, Rib Hillis
Release Date
1 February 2014
Ed’s Grade: C-

Housewife Brenda (Jessica Morris) is brutally raped in her kitchen while husband Tom (Rib Hillis) is at work. To help her recover, she, Tom and their son, go to stay at her father Erik’s (Neil Dickson) home in the small community where Brenda grew up. But instead of getting better, the family suffer from nightmares and visions. Brenda’s mother died while she was quite young, and while visiting her mother’s grave, Brenda meets a strange woman not much older than she. The woman claims to have been her mother’s closest friend.

The community has a proud Viking heritage, where they all appear a little strange, and the visions the family are having look to be linked to something evil from the past. There is witchcraft and curses, and Brenda becomes friends with her mother’s old mysterious friend, Beyla (Hannah Cowley). Things go from bad to worse until we learn the truth about the visions.

Hish did a decent job keeping up the suspense, in fact, when you consider how much time was spent running in circles with this confusing and eventually unfruitful plot, it was actually quite remarkable. I was left with so many questions as to why certain things were even included and were totally unnecessary, as they added nothing to the story, especially having Judd Nelson play dual roles. But I don’t want to give anything away because there isn’t a whole lot to give away in the first place. I commend Hish for creating a film that certainly looked appealing and kept me watching far longer than I would normally sit through a film not going anywhere, but too much time was wasted not getting to the point, so by the end of the film I didn’t care what happened. I enjoyed a lot of the film but the ending left a lot to be desired.

by Ed Blackadder