2.5 out of 10
Release Date: 12th June 2015
Director: Russell England
Cast: Ameet Chana, Poppy Drayton, Thomas Law, Marcus Griffiths, Morgane Polanski, Rachel Petladwala, Paul Raschid, Andrew Lewis and Will Thorp
Writer: Paul Raschid
Trailer: UNHALLOWED GROUND
Somebody’s been overdosing on Scooby Doo! Out of all the haunted house movies I’ve ever seen this is the one that resembles the plot template to every single episode of the popular ghost busting cartoon dog show. The only thing missing was a dog. Well, the dog is the finished movie really.
The makers left suspense at home on this occasion and thought that they could swap the usual band of frightened team of self-loathers with a bunch of posh school kids playing at soldiers on their last night at boarding school. Said poshos get given this task 350 years to the day that four head boys where ritualistically murdered during the days of the bubonic plague. Uncanny shadows with glowing eyes turn up in unexpected places whilst the kids carry on oblivously working out their place in the world and amongst their peers. Meanwhile, a pair of really thick cat burglars (AMEET CHANA and WILL THORP) turn up to raid the school archive to steal some first editions books. So our plummy Famous 5 (or 6 in this case) split up and look for clues as to what’s making noises, duffing up the Asian characters and throwing spiders into shower cublicles. I think “Lets split up!” is one of the main bits of dialogue. Even with the added peril of having a human threat (the burglars) as well as the ghosts, the scare level is dialled down to around 1 out of 10. It seems to take an age for the ghostly spirits to attack anybody.
The acting is reasonable by the whole of the cast, yet the script and story is so clunky that any potential it does have leaks away before the mystery is solved. The unmasking of the non-supernatural killers is very Scooby Doo. I think the baddie even says “I would’ve gotten away with it if wasn’t for you…blah, blah…”
The setting is fairly creepy but the whole film is bloodless and fairly boring for a horror. The only fairly well-known actor is Ameet Chana (WILD WEST) who was in Eastenders for a long time. Subsequently, he hogs top billing but he’s not the main character and he seems to be fairly relieved when it’s his turn to go home.
The DVD box gets a mention for being the most misleading cover ever. It has an American style ranch house on the front, not a boarding school (ala Stow) (not the picture included above). The written description also describes the plot to an altogether different film which sounds no better than the effort enclosed. It’s like the synopsis was written long before the film got finished and the wrong word.doc got sent to the PR / Copywriters. It talks about a haunted derelict house on the moors where a group of friends take shelter for the night? The mind boggles.
2.5 out of 10 – All potential is lost by a lack of pace and fear. There’s nothing new to report in this flat exercise in how to make a horror with zero number of scares. Well acted but slight and ultimately botched.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Ameet Chana: Cash and Curry, Eastenders (TV), Bend It Like Beckham, Wild West
- Poppy Drayton: Down Dog
- Thomas Law: Eastenders (TV)
- Rachel Petladwala: MI High (TV)
- Andrew Lewis: Holby City (TV)
- Will Thorp: Coronation Street (TV), Dr Who (TV), Casualty (TV)