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Film Review: A Haunting at Preston Castle (2012)

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SYNOPSIS:

Three friends take a trip to the abandoned remains of Preston Castle, a former correctional institution for boys that is supposedly haunted. Too bad the rumors are true and none of them may ever leave. Based on a true story.

REVIEW:

I went into A Haunting at Preston Castle with some pretty low expectations since I’ve seen a ton of similar movies lately and I’m glad I did because it just wasn’t very good in general. It was pretty unoriginal and if you’ve seen Grave Encounters of any other movie in the same vein then chances are you’ve already seen this movie. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table and borrows heavily from a number of other similar movies that were a lot better. Much like the whole zombie thing and the found footage fad I think that movies about people going to investigate some old haunted building have overstayed their welcome and it is time to move on to something else as they are beyond played out if you ask me.

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One of the biggest flaws of A Haunting at Preston Castle is the fact that nothing really happens. We get a lot of scenes of people walking around in the dark and that is pretty much it. Every once in a while something (such as a face or a shadow) pops up in the background behind one of the characters but that is about the extent of it. Almost the entire movie is made up of scenes involving the characters wandering around in dark areas looking for each other (or a way out of the building) and shots of the ghosties that are terrorizing them are few and far between. This gets old very, very quickly and it felt like I was watching the same scene over and over again at one point. I wanted to see a movie where evil spirits showed up and ripped people apart but it just wasn’t in the cards and as such this film wasn’t scary (or interesting) at all. If you want to see a haunted house film where the ghosts are running rampant and doing a number of horrible things to the characters then you may want to skip this one. I was hoping for at least one good creepy scene but walked away feeling pretty disappointed.

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Another big problem that I had with the movie is the fact that there is hardly anyone in it. It only has a handful of characters in it and we don’t even see one of them as one of the main characters just talks to him on the phone at one point (which may not have been a bad thing as he sounds like a total prick). I got a little tired of looking at the same three people over and over again during the course of the movie (actually I guess I should just say two of them as the third disappears pretty early on after they arrive at the castle) and to be honest I didn’t really care about any of them to begin with as they are all sort of generic. I think that the film definitely could have benefited from having a few more characters in it because it would have meant that there would have at least been a few more people for the evil spirit (spirits? I’m really not sure how many there were supposed to be) to kill (which would have made things a lot more interesting to say the least).

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The death scenes also left a lot to be desired too. Most of them involve someone simply being yanked off screen and we don’t get to see what actually happens to them. As a big fan of blood and guts I wanted to see someone get brutally and graphically murdered while I was watching this movie but apparently the filmmakers had other ideas. I know that some may argue that this was done so that it left more to the imagination of the viewer but I have to disagree. I don’t know if none of the death scenes were shown because of the low budget the people behind the film had to work with or because they were just lazy and didn’t want to film them in general but I felt a little robbed to be honest. I mean come on, I spent a lot of time watching a lot of scenes where nothing happened, the filmmakers could have at least included one bloody death scene to make things a little more interesting, right?

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A Haunting at Preston Castle just wasn’t for me. I had a very hard time getting into it and thought that it was just more boring than anything. The acting isn’t too bad as the cast is actually pretty talented (too bad they couldn’t have found a better movie to star in) and the overall premise has promise, but the execution was pretty piss poor. It had a lot of issues that kept me from enjoying it (including the very end which was a total rip off of REC/Quarantine as it was almost identical) and I just didn’t have a very fun time while I was watching it. I have a lot of trouble recommending it but if you are into movies of this type you may like it (though I have my doubts) so check it out if you have nothing better to do.

One comment

  1. Except that the facts of Preston Castle are that it is haunted & there was actual deaths in this Preston School of Industry. I live right across the street from it.

     

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