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Film Review: The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019)

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SYNOPSIS:

“Based on one of Hollywood’s most chilling murder cases, this spellbinding thriller follows 26-year-old actress Sharon Tate (Hilary Duff), a rising star about to have her first baby with her husband, director Roman Polanski. Plagued by terrifying premonitions, Sharon sees her worst nightmares come to life with the appearance of Charles Manson and his deadly cult. 

REVIEW:

THE HAUNTING OF SHARON TATE is written and directed by Daniel Farrands (The Amityville Murders, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy), and stars Hilary Duff (“Younger”, “Lizzie McGuire”), Jonathan Bennett (“Big Brother: Celebrity Edition,” “Awkward,” Mean Girls), and Lydia Hearst (“Z Nation”, “South of Hell,” #Horror).”

Written and directed by Daniel Farrands, “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” is almost showing us what happened via Sharon Tate’s point-of-view. I find it heartbreaking in a way though to see this traumatic experience to this woman. In a few ways they make her seem “unstable or crazy.” It doesn’t feel right in many ways. The perspective of what the film is, it’s fascinating.

The strange obsession and fascinations people have with Charles Manson seems to never go away. The brutal and gruesome murders of Sharon Tate whom was eight months pregnant when she was brutally murdered. People often forget that innocent people were brutally murdered. This happened and this woman watched her friends get butchered and then her own life taken along with her unborn baby. She was married to notorious director, Roman Polanski at the time. He was not with when she was murdered.

This film is fascinating because it shows Tate happy and in a sense she was questioning life, her fate and asking questions so many of us have. “What is life about?” “Is there more to life than this?” On August 8, 1969, Tex Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel went to the house where Sharon Tate and the friends staying in the house were murdered. Sharon Tate portrayed by Hilary Duff who plays Tate emotional and strong yet these people make her seem as if she was “crazy” and apparently she wasn’t. Jay Sebring portrayed by Jonathan Bennett and Abigail Folger portrayed by Lydia Hearst and Woljciech Frykowski portrayed by Pawel Szajda.

We see a few jump scares we also see Charles Manson played by Ben Mellish, Tex Watson (Tyler Johnson), Yellow (Fivel Stewart), Sadie (Bella Popa), Steven Parent (Ryan Cargill). The film focuses on the Sharon Tate’s dreams or psychic premonitions? No one knows for sure but several articles said she did “dream about her fate.” And FATE magazine was one of those magazines that stated this. We also get to see a different variation of Sharon Tate’s friendships and her random conversations with Steven Parent played by Ryan Cargill. The relationship seems light and flirty yet Sharon Tate has questions that need to be answered and Steven seems to be the smart one that can help her.

The disturbing visits to the house from Charles Manson leaving envelopes and music at the house. Steven Parent hears, “subliminal messages” in the music. It also reveals, “Helter Skelter”, the song by The Beatles and also the book that would become a film. “Helter Skelter” the book was written by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry.

“Helter Skelter” (1976) the film was directed by Tom Gries. Steven Parent believes in this film that it was some type of “satanic message or subliminal message.” Meanwhile we do see some actual footage of Sharon Tate’s wedding to Roman Polanski. And apparently Charles Manson or someone was calling her and telling her they were all “going to die.”

Sharon Tate was 26-years old woman. She explains briefly that she was just a girl from Dallas, Texas. It does consume the thoughts though? If she was having dreams or whatever you would want to call it? Could someone have actually helped her and stopped this from happening? Could someone have prevented these people Manson sent to murder all of these people? Was it just a cult? Was there some strange agenda?

“The Haunting of Sharon Tate” takes a look at the light-hearted side of Sharon Tate but it is also reality. This is what happened to these people. It was brutal and even after killing them, they wrote on the walls in blood and it became a grisly part of Hollywood history. There doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason for anything Manson was doing.

The film is not slow-paced but it moves almost the time-frames with Sharon Tate was going through. The intensity of Tex Watson and the young girls who went in with him to murder everyone was horrific but you see the reality of this. Tex Watson also quoted, “I’m the Devil and I’m here to do the Devil’s business.” A quote that a few other horror films or serial killer inspired films would add in. Tex Watson was also convicted of killing, Leno LaBianca and Rosemary LaBianca.

In the film you feel the terror of these people fighting for everything. Tex Watson stalking them all with more than an agenda to scare them. People have said this was everything from a cult to revenge for Manson for him not getting a prompt record deal. August 9th will be the fiftieth anniversary of these gruesome murders. You see a few things that seem to lead to a different course.

The film shows a possible altered fate for Sharon Tate-Polanski. The “what ifs” and “why” still plague the film and Hollywood. As the Hollywood sign is shown in a shot surrounded by fog, Sharon Tate ponders in the film, “Do you think it’s possible to alter the course of our fate? Or is our story just our book written before we are even born?” “Infinite choices” – That is what Jay Sebring tells her with a smile across his face. The film tells this story in such a drastically different way.

Sharon Tate looking at herself as she wants to be a “fairy princess” but instead loses her life. You see this from her perspective and it is the most chilling, intense thing to grasp. You see the happiness of what could have been but was lost that quickly. In one blink, Sharon Tate lived in a fairy tale world and the next she was gone. Her free-spirit and happiness for life along with her friends taken. It is such a weird perspective to see this story told this way. It is raw and grants you a glimpse of what these people had to actually live and see. In Horror films you see characters who may be creepy and scary or even based on real-life serial killers. But, when you watch the films you know they are not real. The monsters under our beds may just be what we create. This movie reminds us of the real monsters in this world. Real human monsters that exist. It is eye-opening and frightening.

Daniel Farrands captured so many different sides and despite Hilary Duff not being Sharon Tate’s twin, she captured some of her look and the smiles that we see in photos. It gives you a sense that Sharon Tate-Polanski was happy. Duff captured those and the emotions and her love for her former love, Jay Sebring and what seemed like love and some disappointment for Polanski.

This movie takes a look at what life could have been for her. If she did have these dreams of her death and someone would have looked at it from another perspective would these people all still be alive? It makes you wonder.

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