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Coming this Tuesday to DVD is The Asylum's The Haunting of Whaley House, an original ghost story from writer/director Jose Prendes (The Terminators, Haunting of Winchester House stories) based on the real-life history and lore of an historic home in San Diego. The plot is straight forward enough - "When a tour guide breaks into America’s Most Haunted House, a bit of amateur ghost hunting with friends turns into more horror than they could have ever imagined." - but the results are far from expected or ordinary: HoWH is an intelligent, paranoid and horrifying thriller, well-steeped in reality and thus resonant with authenticity.

Now, as you know, Committed is 100% anti-spoiler, so I won't delve on the details, but I can say in sweeping generalizations that Prendes has built a ghost story classically constructed, confident and fluid, and paired with lively, fast-pace and quick-witted dialogue rife with horror- and pop-cultural references that together create a delightful amalgam of old and new. The scares are smart, abrupt and startling - no corner or shadow is safe - resulting in a palpable tension from the first frame to the last; and believe me, once shit starts popping off in this one, SHIT STARTS POPPING OFF.

One of the major strengths of the picture outside Prendes' talents is the ensemble of actors he's assembled. Admittedly, there's been an over-saturation of ghost hunting in popular media over the last decade; and more often than not, when such characters are presented, it's with a dash of humor/pity. But Whaley House is how ghost hunters should be represented - passionate, scientific, meticulous and above all hungry for proof - and manages to an authentic and even admirable portrayal of such persons. The chemistry between the actors - Stephanie Greco, Alex Arleo, Arielle Brachfeld, Graham Denman (who also scored the film), Carolina Groppa, Howard McNair and Jason Owlsley - is believable and relaxed, while the individual characters themselves are nicely balanced, equally valuable and distinctly drawn; this is not your typical cast of ghost hunting characters, and the film is richer for their uniqueness. 

As a director, Prendes is obviously well-versed in all the classic horror films, domestic and foreign, and he brings his experienced eye to every frame, the result of which is perhaps the most suspenseful Asylum film to date. I honestly didn't know what to expect here, and Prendes and team surprised me at every turn, often to my nerves' chagrin. There is a creeping, anticipatory direction that transforms the camera into a pensive voyeur almost afraid to progress through the story, but unable to turn away. This one raises the bar, for real. It's lusciously atmospheric, rife with the best elements of its old-school influences, all the while breaking some scary new ground itself. And it's filmed in a really good looking house.

So then bottom line - stop what you're doing this Tuesday and rush to wherever you procure your home rentals and wrestle for your copy of Haunting of Whaley House; I can't imagine a world in which you'd be disappointed. Highest possible recommendation.


  1. This sounds like it'll be awesome. I'll try to find it so I can give it a watch!

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  3. I concur - everything about this one was well above-average for what you would expect from Asylum. I've always enjoyed their various haunted house/evil spirit movies but none of them have particularly creeped me out much. This one however, genuinely made me have to sleep with my lights on that night, lol

  4. This movie sucks big donkey dick the people who made it should never make movies again
    ~L.A. Times