Eerie and effective
Dancing Ganesha | Bangalore, India | 12/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This looks like it was influenced by Silent Hill 4: The Room. Even the dvd artwork doesn't merely "hint" at this.
And I'm not complaining.
This is a very effective, dark, and hypnotic film with a lot of promise. The only thing I didn't like was that it could have been longer. But I suppose that's only because I really enjoyed this one.
I would highly recommend this to those who enjoy truly psychological horror, not the "torture porn" that seems to be dominating everything nowadays like a plague."
"God, please help me!"
J from NY | New York | 07/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For those who insist that every movie must have an absolute explanation,
a caption at the end that explains every detail, or that mood is only a miniscule part of cinema, "The Haunting of 24" is not for you.
On the other hand, those who appreciated "The Tenant" or "Session 9" (two obvious influences on this film) or simply enjoy simple ghost stories which don't require someone to be butchered every few frames, this is an absolute must see. I could easily envision MR James himself writing the script.
Stuart Laing plays John Hare: an appropriately lost, anguished young man who drifts aimlessly through life, constantly moving and getting stoned. His only anchor to the everyday world is his beautiful girlfriend Veronica. His relationship with her is fading as well: though his character could have been a bit more fleshed out, there's something eerily fitting about this anonymous unfortunate and the sparse history we are given about his new living quarters.
Susan Engel plays the creepiest old woman that I have ever seen-- sickly white hair, nearly all black eyes, withered not just from age but from a sedentariness that has lasted for centuries, her performance is simply frightening. At first she is the only other tenant in the entire apartment complex, till the "others" arrive and it becomes clear no one is going anywhere. "Landlord" Martin Stone, played perfectly by Robert Blythe, is a bigger deal than he seems to be. The father of the old woman, he struck some bargain with the Man In The Black Hat (who we see glaring into a photo and in full undertaker action at the end) to make this place into an eater of weak souls. And it seems to be working.
I don't pretend to understand this film or to claim that the plot itself is anything more than an attempt at drop dead scary suggestion: as that, though, it works real well. I didn't expect it to be that scary when I rented it and by the end, I was actually creeped out--which is mighty rare these days when I watch new horror movies. Destined to be a cult classic in much the same that "Burnt Offerings" or "Black Christmas" are.
Not at all bad.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 08/28/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Lie Still (Sean Hogan, 2005)
Lie Still is another of those no-budget horror movies that I really, really wanted to like, and here's a surprise: this is one of those no-budget horror movies, like Deadbirds and Shallow Ground, that really delivers the goods. Intelligently-written, intelligently-directed, well-acted, and chock full of atmosphere, this is one you probably missed that you shouldn't have.
John (EastEnders' Stuart Laing) is unemployed, separated from his girlfriend Veronica (Love Actually's Nina Sosanya), chronically depressed, and suffers from strange dreams. After moving out of Veronica's place, given his lack of funds, he rents the cheapest flat he can, in a run-down apartment building with an overly ebullient landlord, Martin (High Hopes' Robert Blythe), who tells him the building's full of neighbors who keep themselves to themselves. Well, except for the mad old bat nextdoor (Damage's Susan Engel). The building seems to be exacerbating both John's depression and his dreams, and they may be bleeding into his waking life. Either that, or there's something very, very wrong with the building itself...
As with most of these way-indie horror films that impress me, the first thing that stands out is the acting, which is well above average for these kinds of movies. It can be argued (and successfully) that one doesn't have to be much of an actor to run from the monsters and scream a lot, but comparing the acting in this movie to that in, say, Malibu Shark Attack (above) should be very instructive for even the causal film fan. Also, Hogan seems to be a director who knows how to do atmosphere in a way few horror directors have in recent times; there's more to be scared of here in a rattling doorknob than there is in the majority of American slasher films in the past fifteen years. Sure, it has its drawbacks, especially during the setup (there are a few of those "arty" shots that don't really seem connected to much, and don't quite work), but it's still an above-average indie horror flick, and if you like horror movies, you should see it. ***