3 September 2014 | leominosa
A novel setting and interesting sci-fi twist, but otherwise a generic teen horror
There are some decent ideas in this film, which makes it more of a shame that it's not very good.
A straight-forward set-up is established in which a team of young paranormal investigators arrive at the somewhat original setting of a large, reputedly haunted, Californian wine-making estate with a history of bizarre suicides, in order to record footage for a TV show that they hope will win them a network contract.
Sure enough they get more than they bargained for and find themselves in grave peril, but it turns out that there's more going on than a few malevolent spirits bumping off twenty-somethings in imaginative fashion. In fact there's both a nefarious threat very much of the earthly plane, and otherworldly forces that give the plot an unexpected dimension, at least genre-wise. There are other plot strands at play relating to these; probably too many in fact, and certainly too many to mention. Incredibly, despite all of this the film still feels predictable.
The group of six paranormal investigators form three couples of sorts (one ostensibly a pair of childhood friends) who have varying relationship "issues". This is made explicit in an interwoven scene in which all three couples are bickering at once. Are they being influenced by sinister forces, inadvertently provoking said forces, or neither? I'm still not sure. This element, along with the general tone of the film, seems to be aimed squarely at a multiplex teen audience.
That said, at times it feels as if the filmmakers are having fun with genre clichés, and might even have originally intended to set this up as a standard teen ghost flick in order to wow us with the aforementioned genre switch-up, but overall the tone remains cheesy and earnest throughout.
Some will enjoy this as it has more going on than the average mainstream ghost story, but overall the familiar teen-horror tropes form an uneasy combination with the ambitious, and at times daft, plot.