30 September 2015

THE SKEPTIC/2009

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Before I explore this post’s feature The Skeptic I just want to make something clear. This site and my other site (What other site? This is orphaned postings referring to my defunct Necrotic Cinema blog - Bill)panders some pretty strange films and artwork. My interests are obviously outside the range of what one may term traditional family values. That however does not mean I am the kind of guy who calls a crucifix in a jar of urine ‘art’ or anything I even care to have an opinion on. It also means my comment box is not a forum for people’s vulgar and offensive sexual babble. It especially does not mean people can direct sexually suggestive phrases at female commenters. Hell man I do not even get enough hits or comments at this site that I want to have some social deviant deciding he wants to make a nest here. All comments are moderated but I let a couple  unacceptable ones slip through accidentally because Blogger’s comment moderation page only allows part of a sentence to appear and not the whole comment before approval or rejection. There are two deviants right now whose comments will be deleted in advance no matter what the content. The bottom line is that Necrotic Cinema is a blog about sick and twisted films and NOT a forum for sick and twisted people to discuss their boners at. Get your own blogs weirdos. (Again, This is a repost of an old post from my defunct Necrotic Cinema blog, ergo the NC references - Bill)

Now that I have gotten that off my chest lets take a look at The Skeptic, a really disappointing feature that looked like it was going to be at least decent. I get all of my stuff here in China from Bittorrents and my premium Rapidshare account. My ISP blocks BT traffic and I have had to do some major tweaking with encryption and proxies to get anything through at all anymore. The reason I supply you with this insight into my movie acquiring process is that I tried hard to get this through Demonoid and finally gave up after a couple weeks as the file was stuck at like 17% or something. I searched and other BTs were as troublesome on my connection but I finally got a copy from Surrealmoviez, the Cinemageddon of Rapidshare sites. So I really wanted to see this. As is typical I avoided any reviews of the film in advance as I hate spoilers (though in a twisted sort of irony my reviews are full of them) or someone poisoning the well with a negative review. Well I am going to give this piece of celluloid Sominex a bad review despite the fact the film is basically well made and well acted.


Unfortunately for the film it falls under the haunted house umbrella (as did Paranormal Activity, another waste of time) and it is a horror genre I have little cared for. I care for it less than I do the man eating plant genre actually and that is pretty bad. I do like the old style haunted house features by companies like AIP, the type of films with Vincent Price, or even old campy films like Hillbillies in a Haunted House. But these new ones that are trying to be seriously terrifying just don’t cut it in my book. The film is also known as The Haunting of Bryan Becket and that is about as pompous a film title as I have heard in some time. The film is written and directed by Tennyson Bardwell and I am not sure that any film called “Tennyson Bardwell’s The Haunting of Bryan Becket” could ever live up the expectations the title evokes. But in the end this film could have been called “Harry Smiths’ Scary House” and the result would have been the same. The problem is not with the acting by leads Ted Bundy look-a-like Tim Daly, underused Tom Arnold and Zoe Saldana as the obligatory medium who can feel the presence of something the moment she enters the house. The film has a quality look to it. Not rushed and for a time the dialog and plot seems like it going to head somewhere. But it never does. I am not going to waste much time and energy with the story here. Bryan Becket (Daly) is in the middle of marital problems when he inherits his aunt’s house. Becket is a real prick essentially which is fine since he is also a successful attorney. He is cold and logical. A skeptic! He decides to hang out in the house while he and his wife Robin (Andrea Roth) work through their troubles. Actually he is going to play cold and aloof until she comes begging him to return home and be the same heartless bastard that used to turn her on (from his perspective anyway).

After a night or two he starts hearing things and seeing women sitting on his steps. He is all spooked out by a closet where nothing ever happens, though it is the center of evil according to psychic Cassie (Saldana). At one point in the film Becket’s son is heard screaming and they rush into the room and the boy is starring wide eyed at the closet door and says ‘there is something in there’. That’s all that happens. That might be the scariest moment of the whole film in fact. Nothing ever happens. Becket at first argues the power of reason with the local priest and the head of some paranormal research center but soon comes to find himself believing in spooks. But it all happens way too slow. In fact nothing happens at an excruciatingly slow pace. Some people may be scared by scenes of little boys looking at a closet door. I am sure there are a few. Others may revel in how the skeptic is broken down little by little and comes to be a true believer by the film’s end when the malevolent spirit finally wins out, although there was not much of a real contest or battle prior to its victory. I am not even sure what to write this review about. I can only remember the boy in his Lion King Halloween costumes looking at the closet door. There were some scenes with ‘creepy’ swooshing sounds and voices murmuring “Bryan… Bryan”. Yea, that was pretty unnerving I guess. Oh I almost forgot there is the petrified corpse of the aunt the cops find at the beginning. In about the first two or three minutes. The only real jolt in the film used up immediately.

Look it is obvious that I did not like this one at all. I like a scary movie were people die. Someone. Where some sort of monster or ghost actually appears once in a while and not in the form of a woman sitting on the stairs. Where there is some blood or at least some torn clothes. I guess the lesson here is to avoid films written and directed by people living in the modern age who have names that sound like someone who would have sipped Absynthe with Oscar Wilde. I think if you have to choose between a film by Tennyson Bardwell and Rob Zombie you know, after this review, which flick to take home.


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