Sunday, March 15, 2015

Film Review: The Haunting of Whaley House (2012)

The Haunting of Whaley House (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a film with a lot of boring and uneventful moments."

Penny (Stephanie Greco), a Whaley House tour guide, uses her position to give her friends a private tour of the infamous home...

The Haunting of Whaley House follows Penny and her friends as they tour the house and conduct some amateur ghost hunting. Things go bump in the night, the group make some “bad” decisions (i.e. stupid), and the bodies start piling. I thought the first half of the story was at least tolerable, but the rest felt like it dragged and reached for any idea – no matter how ridiculous or poorly-fitted. The ending was weak, too.

The Haunting of Whaley House is simply a bad horror film. If you can get past the cliché story filled with some plot holes and illogical characters, you're still faced with other issues. The pacing, for example, is bad. Some scenes drag on for what seems like an eternity. The type of scenes where you really feel like fast-forwarding, but, at the same time, you want to see what happens. Some suspense would've remedied this issue, but the suspense is very minimal. The film also slaps you in the face with its hit-or-miss humor at every corner. You basically get a lot of fat and race jokes. I got a chuckle at least twice, but the rest missed by a mile.

The film wasn't absolutely terrible, though. I guess you can say it was more disappointing. The first half of the story was at least decent. I liked the background we received to the house, I'm always up for a good ghost story. I liked some of the scares, too. I'm big fan of the background scares – you know, where something lingers in the background for a little chiller. The rest of the scares consists of, well, jump-scares. Nothing really effective, but I suppose some were at least fun. There's also some decent gore effects. The good it offers, though, simply isn't enough to help the story and overall execution.

The acting is hit-or-miss, like the humor. Leading lady Stephanie Greco wasn't half-bad. Arielle Brachfeld could have been better. I think most of the flaws in the acting, though, come from the stilted dialogue – it flows so unnaturally, it really hurts the immersion. Otherwise, it's a standard low-budget horror film. The cinematography and music were okay. The special effects were decent. Nothing really stood out. Writer and director Jose Prendes delivers a disappointing horror film. Every time the film shows promise, it slows down and stretches itself thin. It almost feels like this film was originally a short story and it was stretched out to reach the 90 minute runtime. The audience, in turn, get a film with a lot of boring and uneventful moments.

Overall, The Haunting of Whaley House is a bad horror film. It starts off promising, but eventually becomes boring and exhausting. I can't tell you how many times I contemplated fast-forwarding through a scene because it simply wouldn't get to the point. I liked the first half of the film because of the ghost background and the decent scares, the rest of the film is boring. Couple that with predictable scares, dumb characters, and dull humor and you have a bad film. If you have nothing else to watch, I'd recommend a stream at most.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, brief nudity.

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