The 1950s feel is well delivered, but the story itself is not
I am not sure how or why, but I had heard this story before from the original version written by Saki – I think it was via the BBC4 film "Who Killed Mrs De Ropp?" which led me to read a bit more about him. Anyway, I digress. The story here is pretty simple and it is very similar to the original so there was not too much of a surprise. Although it should be a creepy story, the film seems to have gone for "kooky" so we have a rather oddball score running through the film that takes away from the impact of the story being told. This is a shame because tone and atmosphere is really the strength of this film – or at least in terms of time and place it is.
The 1950's feel is really well done in the most part, from the set design to the look of the film it really looks the part. A shame then that it can't marry this with more of a creepy atmosphere because as it is, it is too playful and it feels "wacky" rather than spooky. Part of this is down to the performances though, in particular Garner (the postman) overplays it too much, trying for some sort of comic character but misjudging it or being directed by someone who misjudged it on his behalf. Spicher is better and her delivery is good if only the tone of the film generally would have met her there.
Certified is a classic story but it is one that adds nothing to it and in fact the comic tone to the delivery undermines the telling resulting in a ghost story that isn't creepy and a comedy element that is overegged with a rather "wacky" air it cannot support. The 1950's feel to the film was very well done with sets, costumes and the overall "look", but otherwise there is not much here.