THE HAUNTING OF #24
Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
Unemployed drug addict John Hare has just been dumped by his girlfriend, and he thinks things can't get much worse. That is until he rents a cheap room in a creepy old house that has some serious haunting issues. The past of the house is slowly sneaking up on the living, and no one's sanity in #24 is safe from the revenge of the dead!
Is it good movie?
I'm a huge fan of British low budget horror, and for a first effort, Sean Hogan's directorial debut The Haunting Of #24 is nicely done, with some heavy, gothic-esque atmosphere and a dark style that drives this psychological character piece along. It has a solid and interesting concept, even if the whole "man moves into haunted house" has been done to death. Hogan shows some talent in the horror department, giving the film a nightmare like quality as we watch Hare deal with the madness around him as he himself loses his grip on reality and is consumed by the house.
The acting is good for what it needs to be, and in a movie that does not use gore or grisly genre action to bring the scares really needs to be top notch in the acting department, because it needs to rely on the performances to drive the atmospheric horror of the story. In this case, the story plays out like your run of the mill Lovecraft story, with the main character (played with skill by Stuart Laing) having a series of dreams or visions about the sordid past of the house, and interacting with the wacky tenants, experiencing varying degrees of unreality. The tenants are trapped not only by their own madness, but by the ghosts of the house's past, drawing on the story of the first resident of the house that is buried out under the back lawn. This story thread is never really explored in the end of the movie however, which is a shame. Hogan remains ambiguous as the credits roll, having told his tale of the haunted house that drives everyone stark raving mad.
The flick looks great, and was shot with what could be the beginning of Hogan's style, and the pacing of the movie is deliberately slow and tension filled. I especially like the "TV People", which is another tired concept, but here the effect worked and added a little creep to the story. I would have been more impressed with a more cohesive climax and a more satisfying ending to the flick, but all told it did what it was supposed to do. It creeped my ass out big time, and kept me entertained. The slow creeping terror of the movie was a welcome change to the usual glut of remakes and "torture porn" crap. The house is a great set, being as much of a character as the people that live in it, and it's used effectively. The whole movie is like an exercise in slow burning horror, building the layers of psychological insanity until the real horror becomes the difference between real and unreal. While not for the gorehounds or the "quick and dirty" horror fans, The Haunting Of #24 rewards patience to a point
And I liked the original British title much better. Lie Still just sounds much more cool than the dvd title.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 1.77:1.
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1).
An effective and stylish thriller, The Haunting Of #24 was much more entertaining than I expected. It was a slow creeper of a film that, while not entirely paying off in the end, at least managed to impress my sorry ass, which is surprising considering that it is the director's first flick and it is such a somber, more psychologically driven story piece. A solid concept, some great performances, and a trickling descent into crazyland highlight what I think will be the first of many horror offerings from Sean Hogan and company.