Secrets of the Summer House (2008)

David Haydn-Jones and Lindsay Price in Secrets of the Summer House (2008)

The Price Lacks Fright

Wickersham Island and the house on it have been in the Wickersham family ever since long departed Jebediah Wickersham built it. But legend has it that the house is haunted and the Wickersham men are cursed, which is why when George Wickersham IV (David Haydn-Jones) learns that his father died on the island he wants to sell it as quickly as possible. But George's wife Nikki (Lindsay Price), an artist, has other ideas and persuades him to turn it into an artist retreat which leads to George befalling a serious accident. Sceptical but determined Nikki sets about discovering the truth about the home and bringing an end to what ever it is which has plagued all the Wickersham men.

"Secrets of the Summer House" is the sort of made for TV movie which when the credits roll you will struggle to remember what happened in those 90 minutes. Okay that's going a bit too far because here we have a ghost story, a story of a family where the men are cursed because of something a relative did a long time ago and we have a woman trying to solve the mystery and bring an end to the curse. But what we actually watch is not only dull but often heavily telegraphed and it makes "Secrets of the Summer House" forgettable with the exception of Lindsay Price whose looks are one of the best things about the movie.

Sadie LeBlanc and Lindsay Price in Secrets of the Summer House (2008)

So "Secrets of the Summer House" is frankly rather boring and unfortunately that starts with the story. Now the opening is good as we witness George Wickersham III head to the island home in a manic rage as he tries to confront something which we quickly discover is the curse. But after that the movie goes down hill quickly, the whole mystery of the island and who is haunting the place is telegraphed so it ends up not much of a mystery. And it seems director Jean-Claude Lord gets side tracked by other things from PG clean sex scenes to a montage of the house being renovated which with its musical soundtrack ends up cheesy.

But the biggest problem for me is that "Secrets of the Summer House" has zero atmosphere. This may not be a full on horror movie but it is a ghost story with a haunted house and accidents befalling those who stay there but not once does it suck you in and have you gripped by what may happen. It is why by the end you struggle to remember much of what happened because whilst there are dramatic looking scenes there is no real heart pounding drama.

In the end "Secrets of the Summer House" becomes memorable for two things, two things which centre on looks. Firstly you have the attractive Lindsay Price as Nikki and then you have the piercing eyes of Sadie LeBlanc as her best friend Margie. It's sad that those are the only two memorable things rather than their performances but with a series of flat characters it is little surprise that the looks are more memorable than the acting.

What this all boils down to is that "Secrets of the Summer House" whilst not completely terrible is so ordinary that it is disappointing. It fails to draw you into the mystery of this haunted house and cursed family and with so much telegraphed it is little surprise that it fails to really work other than being a minor distraction.