Review: The Haunting of Whaley House
by, 08-13-2012 at 08:56 AM (1296 Views)
There is something eerie about The Whaley House. Penny Abbot (Stephanie Greco) sure thinks so. Penny works as a role playing tour guide to the famous haunted house in San Diego and after only a few months on the job, she witnesses a visitor to the house collapse after claiming to have seen ghostly events in many of the home’s rooms.
Penny’s mentor in the house tries to console her after the traumatic event and gives her some advice on working in a designated haunted house. Don’t call the ghosts out, don’t damage the house as the ghosts are territorial and don’t go into the house at night are the three suggested rules for getting along with the spiritual presence that maintains residence in the house.
When Penny gets together with her group of friends discussing the house, they hatch a plan to spend some time in the house that evening for shits and giggles. Their ordeal will be full of one but lacking on the giggle.
As Penny gains access to the house after hours, her friends and two invited guests that include a medium and ghost hunter arrive for a night that none of them will forget – that is, if they survive.
The Haunting of Whaley House is inspired by the true story of the House that was designated as an Official Haunted House by the United States Commerce Department in the 1960’s. According to the Travel Channel’s America’s Most Haunted, the Whaley house if the most haunted house in the United States.
Writer/director Jose Prendes uses the history of the house (although the house used in the movie is not the real Whaley House) to his advantage and crafts out an interesting haunted house story that has more than its share of jump scares for its invested audience. The cast seems committed to the material and the make-up effects are above average for what is an obvious low budget independent film.
There are some issues with the script. There is an uneven balance between the humor and the horror throughout the film and the interesting premise and setting are sometimes overshadowed by the standard horror checklist of clichés that seem ticked off in routine order leading the concluding body count.
But let’s get back to the positives. The gore is lacking any obvious CGI tampering and that is a good thing. There is a playful bare breasts scene which is something that is rare in smaller production (at least not breasts looking THIS good). And even though the characters were all disposable from an emotional level, those that met their demise did so in an interesting fashion. The framing of each scene was competently handled and you couldn’t help but think that if the film had a little less gore and took out the boobies that it would have been a better than average movie-of-the-week on national television.
We can throw support behind the film and confidently report that The Haunting of Whaley House is better than 90% of the independent horror films that we have wasted our earthly time screening. It is definitely a competent production and director Jose Prendes shows some talent behind the camera that can only mature and ripen from here.