Horrortoberfest 2014: Day 19 – A Haunting in Salem (2011)

A Haunting in Salem (2011)

So this was another random pick for the sake of this week’s spooky house theme off of Netflix. I should really know by now that when the “what we think you are going to rate this” thing that Netflix has is hovering around 1 star, it’s probably going to a goddamn shit-show. To my surprise, this ended up being an amazing, top notch horror film. The atmosphere had loads of tension and the scares were good without feeling cheap. HaHA! Just kidding. It’s garbage and everyone involved should feel ashamed. OH WHAT A TWIST!

So the movie follows the new sheriff for Salem moving into the house that they apparently just give the sheriffs of Salem for free. And yes, that is Salem, Massachusetts not some other Salem. It only bares clarifying because they apparently didn’t have the budget or give-a-damn to film anything in town. Not even some stock footage establishing shots or anything. The entire film takes place at the newly moved into haunted house outside of one scene at a generic picnic table. Spooky things begin happening immediately and it seems kind of odd that the town would keep putting sheriffs in there when, according to the movie, literally every single one of them for hundreds of years has died in the house. Like…I don’t know, maybe don’t do that shit anymore.

The sheriff, who looks like a cross between Denis Leary and a slowly melting action figure, starts to uncover the truth of the house’s problems while the rest of the family has varying degrees of problems. The son has zero scary things happen to him and plays video games all day. The wife only ends up dealing with a couple nasty things, dead bird and hair in the shower drain, but nothing supernatural really. The daughter, however, gets spoooooky instant messages which I can only assume is coming from the ghost of 2003 when spooky instant messages were still a thing that might make it into a movie. She then gets sick and eventually turns all evil and shit.

So the movie is pretty damn bad. The acting isn’t so bad as to be laughable but it is bad enough that every time people talk to each other it feels really stilted and off. There is one really good scare in the movie with the rest of it being failed attempts at being creepy. It uses the “there is a banging noise somewhere in the house” but it’s really more a prolonged rolling crashing sound and it happens so often that I began to suspect that house was built on a sacred bowling ball burial ground. The ghost also ends up sounding like Darth Vader is walking around killing people. I figure they were going for a wheezing noise since the witches that were buried there (OMG SPOILERS) were hanged but it just sounds like the ghost is going to start pontificating about the power of the dark side.

In all, I would give this movie a 1.5 out of 5. It doesn’t deliver on almost any level and has the unmistakable stink of a writers first script.

Favorite thing in the movie: A woman shows up at the house, gets ghost-hypnotized, gets a large pot, fills it with water, sets it on the stove and boils her face off. There are 3 people home. Nobody comes down during the time it would take to do this. Nobody hears her scream her head off. Her body is pulled off screen and it isn’t mentioned again. The best.

Least favorite thing: You could have removed the son character entirely from this movie and it would have changed exactly nothing. He has no development, does nothing in the plot, and barely interacts with anyone.

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