A haunting we will go, a haunting we will go, hi ho the derry oh …

 The Haunting of Helena ultimately falls victim to its own devices. It begins with a good old fashioned mother-daughter relationship gone awry when a wicked tooth fairy begins haunting them following a near fatal car crash.

The mother, Sophia (Harriet MacMasters-Green) finds her daughter, Helena (Sabrina Jolie Perez), struggling with her sanity following the accident. In the car crash, Helena loses her first tooth and becomes obsessed with the need to collect teeth. Sophia begins to unravel the mystery trying to discover whether this is a mentally ill child or a ghost from beyond commanding and controlling the ever innocent Helena.

There are some elements that echo the underwhelming Darkness Falls as well a The Ring and other similar movies. What begins as a tangled web of uncertainty concludes with the simple conventions of a  tortured soul needing to be put to rest … or does it?

At times it plays with the ideas of a literal, metaphorical or schizophrenic haunting, attempting to keep the viewer on edge, uncertain of which direction the film will turn. The story weaves a wicked web with so much potential but ultimately takes the most conventional and predictable way toward a conclusion.

Originally titled Fairytale, The Haunting of Helena never quite becomes a horror story and never quite settles into the fairytale genre either, but finds itself in a purgatory somewhere in between.

Even the ending of the movie, which makes a bold attempt at horror, presents an ultimate shock and surprise, suggesting that the movie could have been so much more than it was.

The Haunting of Helena is relatively compelling and does leave the film watcher with a movie to enjoy, but ultimately, even the least critical will be disappointed with the story, wondering what could have been.

Grade: B

Review by Gordon Shelly, special to Influx Magazine