Sunday, 16 December 2012

Review - They Wait (2007 - Dir. Ernie Barbarash)

This is another film that I got for a quid. So I wasn't expecting much. In fact, on recent form, I was expecting it to be dire (Dying Breed was pretty useless and I only got five minutes into Scarce before I turned it off). I was even preparing a witty They Wait... For Paint to Dry gag. I'd already hit gold with Shuttle, another pound shop wonder, so I couldn't see it happening again anytime soon. 

After living in Shanghai for some years, Sarah (Jaime King) goes back to America with her husband and son to attend a family funeral. It's a ghost story so ghostly stuff starts to occur very quickly. Not as creepy as The Ring, but vaguely similar. 

It's not another Shuttle but it's not too bad. This is a film that is definitely more than the sum of its parts. The acting isn't the greatest. Jaime King veers from acceptable to completely unconvincing and the rest of the cast are a mixed bunch. Easily my favourite is the wise Pharmacist (Henry O). Like the shopkeeper in Gremlins he brings a mysticism to the film that raises it above the average useless ghost story (The Entity is a prime example). Michael Biehn is in it too but only plays a (very) minor role and is instantly forgettable. What is he going to do though? He's only given about a minute of screen time.

The cinematography is pretty good and everything looks suitably filmic. The director allows the film to play out without any flashy editing or stylistic choices. Which is good. The special effects meanwhile, are not the greatest. Just the usual low quality CGI, perhaps a bit lower than normal. One of the best effects, involving a minor cleaver in head accident, is a practical effect funnily enough.

For a ghost story, it's not scary. Well, it could be scary if you've never seen one before but for seasoned ghost story professionals it's a walk in the park. Apart from one scare. Yep, one bit made me jump. There are not that many films that can claim to do that nowadays. Well done They Wait, go and get yourself a 10p mix.

The end sequence elevates the film from a low average to mildly interesting. Sarah has to take fairly extreme steps to save the day and there is some audience participation to be had as she nearly gets drawn into hell for eternity. Not brilliant but fun nonetheless.

That's pretty much the film in a nutshell: Not brilliant, but fun. 

If you like this you could also try:
The Haunting, The Ring, A Tale of Two Sisters.

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