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It's always a warning sign when a film bypasses cinema release to go
straight on TV, so when THE HAUNTING OF RADCLIFFE HOUSE (original
title: ALTAR) appeared on UK TV on Boxing Day I knew something was up.
And, unsurprisingly, it turns out to be very bad indeed: a complete
rip-off of a film made by people with no understanding of how the ghost
story genre works.
The film features a pair of past-it actors (Olivia Williams and Matthew
Modine) as a married couple who move into a creepy old mansion in the
Yorkshire moors with their bratty kids. Unsurprisingly, the place is
haunted, and the haunting takes the most obvious route imaginable: dumb
ghost scares ripped off from THE GRUDGE, a possession straight out of
THE SHINING, and a myriad other scenes ripped off from elsewhere. When
the film does try something new (like a ghostly encounter in broad
daylight) it just falls flat.
The production values are acceptable here, but the level of cliché is
just too high for it to be enjoyable. The grey filter cinematography
has been done to death, the performances are shrill and histrionic (and
Williams just CANNOT carry a movie) and the scares silly. Oddly, much
of this seems to have been copied from an old favourite of mine, the
'90s-era video horror game PHANTASMAGORIA, except without the fun
factor. Throw in some dodgy historical rumblings and an equally dodgy
cameo from SIGHTSEERS star Steve Oram and you have a complete train
wreck of a movie. M. R. James would be spinning in his grave...
Tags for Altar Full Movie
Adam Thomas Wright
, Antonia Clarke
, Matthew Modine
, Olivia Williams
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