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The Haunting Of Helena (DVD Review)

Haunting-Of-HelenaSalient Media and Bloody Disgusting bring you The Haunting Of Helena.  The film was also known for a time during its theatrical/festival run as Fairytale.  Apparently the title has been changed since.  Maybe using “Haunting Of” is a way to sell more copies based on other films using that moniker?  It’s a film that tries its best to make a monster of the Tooth Fairy and provide a backstory of sorts.  The film very much carries that mother-child dynamic of sorts seen in films like The Ring.  Sadly with dull performances and no energy, the film that could have been a nice frightfest is more of a snoozefest.  It’s got some nice imagery and a few cool ideas, but it’s never really able to become a film as nice and cool itself.  Let’s have a look, shall we?

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Film

Sophia, a college professor, and her daughter are finally moving into a new home following a separation from her husband.  After a car accident, the daughter (Helena) loses her first baby tooth.  Upon returning to the house, Helena has visions of a ghost coming to collect her teeth.  Once becoming a believer herself, Sophia does some research on her new digs, only to find her new home has a truly disturbing history surrounding it.

The Haunting of Helena isn’t a badly made or incompetent film.  It’s just a really boring one.  It doesn’t help that it’s a really quiet one too.  Its only 88 minute but felt like a 2 hour movie watching it.  The performances are all very dull and lifeless.  Everyone top to bottom just feels like they’re reading lines.  No real energy and no real emotion being gauged throughout.

It’s a horror movie, though, so how were the effects?  Well, the film had a heavy reliance on CGI.  Some of it pretty good and others obvious and bad.  I’ll give it a 50/50.  The makeup work was pretty impressive when it wasn’t glaringly obvious CGI.  And there’s a couple good “boo” scares in the film, but they’re too far down the film’s pipeline and spread far from each other as if to tell the audience to “wake up, we still got a movie playing here!”.  In a humorous moment from the sound department, there is a stock scream (that you know you’ve heard a zillion times before) used not just once but TWICE(!!!) in the movie.  It’s quite laughable.

As much as a chore as it is to get through this movie, the final 10 minutes actually picks things up quite well and rides a nice plot twist to the finish.  Do I recommend it for that alone?  No way!  It was a nice little reward for having sat through it.  But honestly, after this one, I felt like putting a tooth under my pillow and taking a nap.

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Video

Helena haunts with a MPEG-2 video encoding.  The 1:78.1 frame is a bit dingy looking and very dim.  I know horror films aren’t supposed to be pretty, but this one could have benefited from being a bit more vibrant.  And since they are hard coded subtitles, I’m gonna knock the points off in this category.  Whenever there are descriptive subtitles or translated dialogue (pertinent to the plot nonetheless), the subtitles appear very very small at the bottom of the screen.  I’m a person with 20/20 vision and I have a good sized TV that I sit about 6-7 ft back from. I should have no trouble reading subtitles.  I had to lean forward and squint to read these.  I imagine this will be quite a challenge for those with small TV sets.

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Audio

The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track is kinda of generic, but at times impressive.  The track never really delivers a “big” or consuming sound.  If there were more scenes of action or scares I could understand the restraint of making the thing sound silent, but there’s a big lack of it for a lot of the film.  The dialogue throughout the film is a bit quiet and muffled sounding too.  The heavy british accents also sound like they’re mumbing when I really don’t think they are.  However, the film does deliver the sound wonderfully in a couple “boo” scares.  It also does a real good job of creating some distance in its effects.

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Extras

All the extras are presented in MPEG-2 encoding with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

  • Behind The Scenes (6:59) – A promo video brushing over production with the directors and producer.  This is very light in depth and is obviously just a little something to help sell the movie.
  • The Haunting Of Helena Theatrical Trailer (1:34)
  • VFX Breakdown (1:30) – A little video comparing scenes from the finished film with ones during various stages of shooting and post production.

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Summary

This was a film I really did want to like.  I didn’t have massive expectations for it, but was at least expecting something decent based upon the materials I was provided with beforehand.  There are just far too few highlights to even recommend streaming this one let alone owning it.  The video and audio are good for a DVD, I suppose.  Its really light and generic on the extras, so there’s no help or hope for an added level of appreciation I may not have found before.  Overall, like I said from the start, while competently made, this movie is just a bit boring and dull.  It would have been cool for something newer and fresher to come out this fall and really be surprising, but you won’t find it here.  There was a chance in this screenplay that it could have been, had life was breathed into the execution of the body of the script.  And maybe that’s what was most disappointing.  Look no further than the lame, uninspired “She’s Coming For You” tagline on the box as to how much of drab this one is.


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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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