Saturday, January 15, 2011

In short: The Haunted House Project (2010)

Three documentary makers and three members of the local ghost hunter society enter a derelict cookie factory with a very bad reputation. It's supposedly haunted by a vengeful secretary who has been causing accidents and deaths in it for years. Mildly scary things happen, until everything culminates in screaming, running around and six dead people.

Not surprisingly, the film is supposed to consist of the restored footage found on the dead bodies, which is probably preferable to it only being explainable as a Satanist trainee video, like in a certain popular US POV film.

I'm not too sure what has caused the sudden influx of POV horror films from various countries in Asia in the last two or three years. Was it a re-issue of (house favourite) Blair Witch Project? A popular TV show I don't know about? Be it as it may, there these films are, and here I am, so I'm of course going to watch as many of them as I can get a hand on.

Hopefully, not all of these films are as disappointing as South Korean director Lee Cheol-ha's The Haunted House Project (whose original title I can't find out, so I'm just going with the concept that its actual title does not have any relation to Blair Witch).

To begin with the positive, THHP is competently filmed (with not as much camera wobbling as some people's stomachs will fear), solidly acted and mercifully short. Unfortunately, that's really all the positives I can find about it.

As a horror film, THHP fails at the all-important task of being scary or creepy (or even just plain disgusting) in any kind or form. The factory buildings the plot takes place in are surely derelict, but lack the proper (and admittedly extremely subjective) creep factor, and the moments of explicit horror just aren't very interesting. This is one of the films in the POV sub-genre that don't understand the importance of ambiguity, of not showing things, and of hinting at stuff happening that must be much more terrifying than anything that it could show (something that other Project did very well indeed), and instead goes for some obvious shocks.

The film also just takes too much time getting to the (theoretically) scary parts. Instead of using the first half hour or so to build up an interesting mythology for the factory, Lee goes for a background so pedestrian and so obvious that it seems custom made to deflate any sense of mystery or actual fear, as if the director thinks knowing precisely what quotidian sort of haunting is waiting for the characters there will somehow make their experiences more interesting.

Alas, it doesn't.

Technorati-Markierungen: ,,

No comments: