Director: Brett Donowho
Starring: Alix Elizabeth Gitter, Erik Avari, Steve Bacic, Tara Westwood
Out NOW in UK from 101 Films
Following up from his 2012 cabin-in-the-woods rural thriller ‘The Sacred’, director Brett Donowho returns to similar territory with the supernatural murder-mystery ‘A Haunting At Silver Falls’. Although the DVD cover and publicity materials for this low-budget feature from Outsider Pictures make it look more like a derivative of the Grudgey-Ringy style of noughties J-horrors and their spawn, the film is actually more Apple Pie than Asia Extreme and takes its inspirations from a different heritage of ghost stories and folklore.
Orphaned teenager Jordan ( a strikingly solemn performance by Alix Gitter) finds a ring enchanted by the spirits of twin girls who were drowned years earlier in Silver Falls by their father. The foreboding ghouls mean no harm to Jordan and appear to caution her about an elusive threat that links a dark secret from the past to a danger in her present.
Rather than employ over-used tactics such as jump-scare effects (usually achieved through the combination of a sudden flashing image and a loud jolt in volume) ‘A Haunting At Silver Halls’ is a unusual style of ghost story- a slow-burner filled with silence and sombre, monotonous dialogue which creates a consistently ominous tone, providing this steadily paced low-budget creeper with one of its unique selling points.
The other stand-out aspect of the film is the convincingly disaffected performance by the lead actress Alix Elizabeth Gitter. Given the demanding task of being the centrepiece of almost every scene in this slow-paced ghostly drama it is this performance that ultimately carries the film and sells it. Gore-hounds or fans of the aforementioned Asian demonic spirits might find themselves feeling disappointed and perhaps misled by the marketing for this bloodless and melancholic ghost story but those in the mood for a suspenseful murder mystery with a supernatural twist will enjoy it for its merits.
More eerie silences than surprise scares- this is a moody and atmospheric chiller with an excellent and vulnerable lead performance and a Fargo-esque cheekiness with its ‘Inspired By True Events’ title card as no amount of research can provide this reviewer with any clue as to exactly what events this film was inspired by. The ‘15’ certificate is undeserving and unfortunate as this style of ghost story would be perfect for a slightly younger audience.
A Haunting at Silver Falls is out now from 101 Films and available from AMAZON UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunting-At-Silver-Falls-DVD/dp/B00OCXTWCI/