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Not a bad take on the haunted house genre
on 6 March 2017
Winner coaxed some remarkable stars into this picture, in the main to add spice in cameo parts to support a fairly incredible plot founded on mumbo-jumbo guardian-angel myths. As in many good ghost stories, there is a chilling circularity in the story as one character replaces a predecessor, to take the evil from one generation to the next: that much works well. What is less assured is the bumbling police department (scratching the surface far less well than the fingernails of some of the undead) and a merely routine performance from Sarandon in the lead: characterless and unswashbuckling. Even the moustache disappoints; what kind of women go for these off-the-peg heroes, I'd like to know !
There is appropriate nudity of the powdered-up, flaky-paint-peeling variety and a genuinely disturbing slant on the Catholic church (one never quite knows who the goodies and baddies are among the clergy - a bit like real life, you might say).
There are chills and there is some very creepy suspense; so, really the haunted house genre is given an effective treatment overall, which sustains the movie well - it's more than worth a watch late a night but it is no masterpiece either in the photography or, I thought, in the way the different groups interact. The sound on my copy was less than good, requiring multiple adjustments but the musical score is very effective, when it is not eclipsing the dialogue.