Director: Philip Granger
Starring: Jimmy Breau, Yuki Morita, Will E. McDonald, Taylor Hastings
UK DVD release 14th September 2015 from High Fliers Films
“You’re lucky I’m not a dickhead like you.”
A TV show host is given one last chance to investigate a haunted building in order to boost his ratings or his show will be cancelled. The brooding Desmond building, so deadly it now stands empty, held in perpetuity by the city and guarded by ineffectual rent-a-cops. The show’s host, Johnny Craig (played by Jimmy Breau) takes his band of cameramen, co-hosts, a psychic and a team of urban explorers, and breaks into the ill fated Desmond.
Haunted is basically Grave Encounters without the slow build. The ghostly shenanigans begin immediately as the team makes their way into the Desmond from service tunnels running beneath the city. The team is split up as they become lost and confused in the labyrinthine interior. The problem with forgoing the slow build is that a bunch of cheese semi-transparent ghosts are on screen immediately cutting the tension and, well, being cheesy.
There is no character development either, which is complicated by a large cast. There is the TV crew of something like four or five people, maybe seven people, none of whom have very defined roles except the one guy in charge of B-roll. Two more producers out in a van monitoring the video feed. Two or three urban explorers who insist on not being filmed but end up on camera anyway. And finally the two security guards. The characters are a hazy amoebic blob it’s hard to remember who is who as they are picked off one-by-one by the building.
None of them are memorable. I’m not even sure all of them had names. Luckily some of them have some amusing deaths, including one by pigeon spikes. If there is a star, it’s the building itself. Director Philip Granger found some nicely decrepit settings to film in, of all sorts of description. There are marble halls, Victorian enclaves, modern bathrooms, bank vaults, and corridors of peeling paint. The multitude of locations jive with the building’s history. As it was developed and added onto over the years in various attempts to make it into something.
Haunted isn’t actually terrible, despite the many things it fails to deliver and or execute. It’s just sort of forgettable. And thankfully, and I cannot stress this enough, thankfully it is not a found footage movie.
Kudos for: Pigeon spikes of doom
Final lesson: No one pays security guards for cursed buildings enough.