Some times a film title can be misleading, especially when it comes to Horror. From 1962’s Carnival of Souls to 2017’s Mother, this genre of film often leaves the audience wondering, “What did I just watch?” Written and directed by David Holroyd (W.M.D 2009 , The Bill series), The Haunted is a new entry into this puzzling category that will definitely leave you with questions.
Set for Digital release on Friday, May 22nd via Vertical Entertainment, The Haunted stars Sophie Stevens (Doctors series, The Black Prince 2017) as Emily, a girl who has taken a nightshift job as a caregiver. Her first night soon turns into a nightmare when she is tormented by a vengeful spirit.
On the surface, the synopsis, along with the movie poster, makes The Haunted look very compelling. However, this is definitely one of those “don’t judge a book by its cover” scenarios. In fact, the list of flaws on and beneath the surface of The Haunted goes on.
In truth, much of the film is Emily just screaming and making very little conversation with the supposed bed-ridden patient, Arthur (Nick Bayly: Emmerdale 2000, Dream Team 2003). The story continues with your typical haunted house antics – doors slamming open and closed on their own, along with lights going off on their own. (Because in every scary movie the lights have to go off!) Furthermore, there are footsteps heard when it is supposedly only Emily and Arthur in the house. Finally, there is the piano that Emily discovers playing on its own. All of these tropes are very typical of this type of film.
These negatives aside, now it is time to give credit where it is due. There is Emily, who is portrayed pretty solidly by Stevens. That is, aside from a perplexing scene in which she is terrified after being locked in a closet that then mysteriously opens. Making her escape, she runs out of the house – only to return again! Frustrating to watch, but this is more the fault of the story itself rather than Stevens’ performance. Then there is Bayly’s Arthur who does an excellent job moaning and groaning throughout the entirety of The Haunted; even his confused gibberish is pretty decent.
Not to be left out, there is the ghost girl played by Kristy Steele (Butterfingers 2004, Waterloo Road series). Unfortunately her character is never really explained other than photographs within glimpses of her with Arthur. You are essentially left only to make the assumption that she is his daughter. Which raises another question: is she the ghost or is Emily really the ghost?
Although there is so much wrong with The Haunted, as mentioned, it does have its high points. The cast, for the most part, are almost believable. This in mind, above all, the jump-scares are what holds it all together. For Horror buffs out there, feel free to give The Haunted a try, because Cryptic Rock gives it 3 out of 5 star.