Monday, October 15, 2012

Disrespectre: "Spectre" (1996)

You have seen it all before and you will see it all again in this cheap little horror flick.

Greg Evigan and Alexandra Paul are Will and Maura South, who move to Ireland to inherit an old home left to them by a relative of Maura's. They bring their cute daughter Aubrey (Briana Evigan), and move in right away, not aware that two maids hired to clean the place have already died there.

Aubrey finds a creepy doll that talks to her, computers and lights do not work properly, and someone messes up Maura's linen closet. We find out Will and Maura have a strained marriage due to Will's past infidelity, and store that away since it will obviously play a part in the story later.

The house is blessed by Father Seamus (Eamon Draper), but the couple go to village mystic Shea (Dick Donaghue) and his lovely assistant Amy (Mary Kate Ryan) when things begin scaring them. Shea determines the spirit haunting the house is that of a dead girl named Colleen, whose body is found walled up in the cellar, murdered by her mother. End of movie, roll credits...no, wait! Just a false ending forty minutes in! Colleen is laid to rest, and the family moves on, admiring the mysterious amulet Will happened to find on the same wall they tore down to get to Colleen's body. For closure, the Souths invite Shea, Amy, and Father Seamus over for dinner, where the house lets them know it is not through yet.

Aubrey is kidnapped by the spirits and walled up in the cellar, but is rescued by Will and Maura. A major character is killed, beheaded by a house statue, and their death is not touched on again in the film. The Souths flee to a hotel away from the evil. End of movie, roll credits...no, wait! Just another false ending! Soon, Maura becomes possessed by an evil spirit after hallucinating an imagined affair between Amy and Will. Finally, the third climax of the film occurs as Aubrey and Will must do battle with the now evil Maura, using Catholic spirit-stabbin' daggers and a family's love. End of movie, roll credits.

Off the top of my bald head, I was reminded of "The Amityville Horror" (at one point the walls bleed), a huge dose of "Poltergeist," and the musical score sounds like it was lifted directly from "The Omen." There are so many borrowed elements from other horror films, "Spectre" cannot be accused of being original.

Among the pluses are the film's authentic Irish locations. Greg Evigan and Alexandra Paul have a nice chemistry. The makeup and gore effects are top notch. Little Briana Evigan must scream a lot, but her character never becomes too annoying or cute. Levy does a good job of directing, throwing in a few sex scenes that sure didn't happen in "Poltergeist."

On the other hand, the computer generated transparent demon had me in stitches. There are a couple of whirlwinds of light that are also badly rendered. The false endings are especially noticeable in a film that runs eighty three minutes.

Throw all the negatives in with the fact that this story has been done to death, and "Spectre" is a failure. (* *) out of five stars.