A Broken Haunted House

Jodelle Ferland in The Haunting of Briar House (2015) (The Unspoken)

Back in 1997 the police were called to Briar House, the home of the Anderson family who had disappeared but there was blood everywhere, signs of a struggle and the attending officer experienced some seriously weird shit. 17 years later and young Adrian (Sunny Suljic) and his mother Jeannie (Pascale Hutton) move into the long abandoned and locally notorious Briar house. Their arrival leads to Angela (Jodelle Ferland) being employed to help look after the long been silent Adrian but it also leads to some trouble as a group of local boys have been stashing their drugs in the buildings basement. But that is nothing compared to the spooky stuff which starts to happen to Angela as her father forbids her from returning to the house.

Have you ever watched a movie and about half way through you know that the pay off could never be enough for enduring it till the end yet you do just that because you feel that urge to find out how it ends anyway. This was how I felt as I watched "The Haunting of Briar House" as by the half way mark I knew that the pay off could never repay me for enduring the slow death which had gone on before and could guess that after such a slow and distraction filled first half that the ending would be full of sensationalism to try and entertain. Basically "The Haunting of Briar House" resorts to over the top to try and gain a reaction from the audience which might work for some but didn't for me.

Sunny Suljic in The Haunting of Briar House (2015) (The Unspoken)

So what do I mean by sensational, well during the first half we meet Angela's tomboy friend Pandy and out of nowhere they go to kiss. I have no issue with lesbianism but there is no reason for the kiss to exist at that point or to be honest at a later point whether it is girl on girl or girl on boy and to me exists here purely as a way of trying to grab your already waning attention. These attempts to grab your attention keep on happening and to me it is because the build up in "The Haunting of Briar House" is both slow going and uninteresting, partly because of the haunted house things has been done so many times before and done better.

As for the pay off to this well firstly it does try to explain everything as to what went on and why Angela ends up involved but sadly this is not very entertaining and seems to be plucked out of nowhere. But that is clearly not what "The Haunting of Briar House" is about because out of nowhere we get a violent and very visual ending with people being thrown through the air, impaled and much more. But none of it is enough to make what you have sat through worth it.

What this all boils down to is that "The Haunting of Briar House" ended up an arduous experience which seemed to pin so much on the graphic nature of its conclusion on entertaining the audience. Maybe for some the violent nature of someone being thrown in the air by something unseen will impress but for me it didn't. Oh and just for good measure the movie then tries to be clever by showing that Briar House is 14 miles away from Amityville, it doesn't work.

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