Some Ghosts Just Aren’t Scary
A few months ago I watched a British horror film starring Rebecca Hall (The Prestige, The Town) called The Awakening. It established the perfect tone for a classic ghost story and even though it had its faults, I still enjoyed it. Today I took a chance on a similar film based solely on the artwork (never a good idea) and within the first few minutes regretted my cavalier decision. Can you name a horror movie set in the English countryside that has less atmosphere than an episode of Eastenders? Yes I can and it’s Nick Willing’s Altar.
Meg Hamilton (Olivia Williams, Rushmore, The Sixth Sense) moves her family to an isolated house on the outskirts of a small town after being hired to restore the building to its original state. The house is haunted by the least frightening ghost imaginable and Meg’s husband Alec (Matthew Modine, The Dark Knight Rises, Pacific Heights) seems to be possessed by the former owner. Or is it the former house painter?
Nothing about Altar will scare you. Unless you find wasting an hour and thirty-four minutes of your time somehow frightening. The premise isn’t half bad but the execution is excruciating. Dialogue falls flat. Characters are way too self-aware. And the twist (if you can call it that) comes as no surprise. The only enjoyable moment was when Steve Oram (Sightseers, The Canal) showed up as “The Ghost Whisper.” His brief time on screen was a welcomed distraction though it really didn’t make up for all the boring stuff that happened before and after.
Don’t waste your time. Check out The Awakening or The Woman in Black instead. Heck, you’d even be better off watching an Eastenders Halloween episode for that matter.
Availability: Netflix US, Netflix Canada