Saturday, February 6, 2016

The House on Pine Street - Review - @BrandonCSites

The House on Pine Street (2015) **
D: Aaron Keeling, Austin Keeling
C: Emily Goss, Taylor Bottles, Cathy Barnett, Jim Korinke, Natalie Pellegrini, Tisha Swart-Entwistle

Plot Synopsis: A young woman coping with an unwanted pregnancy after moving into a seemingly haunted house.

Review: Within the first thirty minutes of The House on Pine Street, we watch as an expectant couple move from the city to the suburbs to start anew after the wife has had a mental breakdown. Upon moving in, the wife rejects her new settings while the husband tries to make the best of the situation.

It's in this new home that the wife feels isolated from everything and everyone. Complicating matters is that her pregnancy is unwanted and that her new home is possibly haunted. However, it appears that no one else is experiencing these hauntings other then herself. It's suggested that the house is reacting to her mental state.

After getting that point across, within the first thirty minutes, we have to watch one repetitious scene after another play out for another ninety plus minutes. This only cements what we already know. To compensate for that, they throw in scenes of a pregnant mom being dragged up & down stairs and thrown against walls by an invisible presence. There's scenes in which loud thuds are heard, but, as usual, there's nothing's there. Doors open & close, lights flicker even though the electricity is in perfect working order and any other false scare that they can try to manufacture. Here's an idea. Instead of all the false scares, why not have the the movie clock in at 77 minutes vs 111 minutes?

As per the course, the wife tries to convince everyone of what's going on, but (of course) they reject what she's saying. This scenario keeps repeating itself for at least ninety minutes until they arrive at some kind of finale that tells us what we already know. However, when they arrive at this conclusion, it goes against the logic of other scenes.

For example, it's suggested (throughout) that the house is reacting to the wife's mental state, thus it's the energy the wife is giving off vs an actual ghost. However, there's scenes of a little boy who can see some kind of supernatural presence. There's another scene in which that same little boy is attacked, however the wife has no predisposition against the kid. So, it makes no sense that he's attacked. There's another scene that clearly suggests that the husband has experienced a presence, but chooses to ignore it. Yet, none of the characters are supposed to be experiencing what the wife's going through.

When I make that comment, about the husband experiencing a presence, you might be inclined to think that's in service of the story, but it doesn't add up. The husband treats his wife as though she's crazy, because of her ramblings of something supernatural. Even in regards to the sub-plots, they even manage to trip up. There's one involving a neighbor who's going through her own turmoil. Just as that sub-plot is developing in a meaningful way, it's just as quickly abandoned. In 
introducing this sub-plot, it's like someone telling you a joke, but forgetting to tell you the punchline.  You mean to tell me that they couldn't have brought closure to this sub-plot within 111 minutes?!? Or, at the least, they couldn't have excused some of the repetitious scenes and finished telling this part of the story?!?

On the other hand, if I was to judge The House on Pine Street merely on production values and technical execution, then my rating would be considerably higher. This is a well produced film with both Juan Sebastian Baron's striking cinematography and Monique Thomas' production design a particular standout. However, we don't watch films strictly for cinematography and production design. We watch films, because we want to connect with a story and characters whether that's in profound, meaningful way or in some form of escapist entertainment. 

There's exceptions to the rule, but those production values have to be on the level of an Alfred Hitchock film or something made during the German Expressionism era where the visuals told a story just as much as the script. However, that's not the case here.

What we're left with is another horror movie that overstays its welcome. It features yet another house, where things go bump in the night (as well in the day). Nothing can cover that up, no matter how well made it is. [Not Rated] 111 minutes.

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