Vacuous, Contrived Nonsense!
Asylum have reached a new low in filmmaking with their “true story” The Bell Witch Haunting, as they try their fumbling hand at a Paranormal Activity gig. I’ve never hidden the fact that I dislike most of their movies, (even Sharknado) but at least you can usually have a bit of a giggle at the mess they make when ripping off more popular fare. They always screw up everything but it’s usually at least watchable dreck. Here, they’ve sort of produced, on the surface, a decent looking movie compared to some of their other efforts, but beyond that, it’s a disaster. This is an insult to anyone who likes horror, the Paranormal Activity franchise (which I unashamedly enjoy) and anyone with even the lowest IQ.
This is a seriously boring movie with zero redeeming qualities. Well, OK, there is one. Hot chicks, but I could’ve watched porn if that was my only interest in seeing a film. Admittedly, the acting is ever so slightly better in this, than say, Deep Throat but the story just isn’t scary or interesting. The ever camera-carrying characters were mega-annoying but you’d think I’d be used to such things with the amount of horror films I watch and review. Not true. I can still just about enjoy handheld/found-footage films if they’re done properly, but sadly this isn’t one of them and these types of film are wearing pretty damned thin now. Apart from the son, Brandon (Andrew Hellenthal), his sister carries one as she walks about telling the world what clothes she’s gonna try on etc, and even the power-company dude carries one, and he also does a video blog, telling the world how to repair things which was a joke. He’s talking to his camera while wearing protective gloves, touching these bare wires continually until, of course, he gets electrocuted. Surprise effing surprise.
Pervy Brandon hides in his sister’s closet, filming her getting changed, and when she’s screaming in bed with night terrors, good old Brandon runs in with a camera, in time to video her ass. Literally. His father gets hurt, Brandon runs with his camera to film it, I mean, the mind boggles. I know what I would have done with his camera, and it involves bending him over. None of it rang true and was the most unconvincing film I’ve seen in a very long time that had a budget. The bits where we were meant to get a fright were unbelievably obvious and not scary in the slightest, you could see them coming before you even start watching the film.
The camera shake was so annoying at times — it was inconsistent — the dad shouted “we’re not leaving this house!” I don’t know how many times but it was a helluva lot. At the beginning, when the daughter and her friends are jumping up and down on the bed in their underwear, then they’d talk about lesbians, which I’m certain was all about having something juicy to add to the trailer and nothing more. I’m not going to say more, other than the fact that I didn’t like this movie one bit, however, I’ve kindly boosted the grade from ‘F’ to a hugely generous ‘F+’ for having a hot mother and daughter. They got that right at least but it’s sad when your movie only has that to point to.
Review by Ed Blackadder, Special to Influx Magazine