Story: The rumors of haunted houses are present in most cities, with certain homes that just leave folks chilled to the bone or gossip weaves tales of ghosts. Hanley House is one such abode, long thought to be infested with evil spirits and other supernatural forces, few will even enter the property, let alone spend time inside the house itself. But one man is about to not only step foot into Hanley House, but remain there overnight, in the name of a bet. If he can spend an entire night within the spooky house, he will be given a most rich reward, a Ferrari. But when he and his friends throw a bash in Hanley House, will they prove the rumors to be untrue or will they learn a harsh lesson about tinkering with places where the undead roam?
Entertainment Value: This regional slice of haunted house cinema doesn’t earn a place as a cult classic, but I found some entertainment here at times. The narrative is typical genre stuff, a night in the haunted house goes off the rails, so the story is predictable, but the draw here lies with the vibe in general, not so much the tales being told. This one has no real marquee (or even close) talent involved and you can tell the filmmakers weren’t experienced or well funded, but Ghosts of Hanley House manages to overcome those issues, at least to a point. The movie rolls out of the gate well enough, with a solid opener and some genre fun blended with surreal, offbeat vibes, but soon loses steam and after a bit, this one all but runs of gas. The early scenes showed some promise however, not to mention some b movie vibes like the overly loud, aggressive soundtrack and the production limitations, which have some charm, it just can’t seem to keep that momentum going. By the end, we have a nonsensical turn of events and a dud of a finale, so things close out on a down note. As such, I can’t give it much of a recommendation, but b movie veterans might find the early scenes reason enough to check in.
To be honest, I hadn’t heard of anyone involved in this production, so the cast was all new faces to me and in general, the performances are passable at best. No one stands out or takes the material and runs with it, everyone more or less goes through the motions and while some are solid at times, overall these can be wooden and deadpan efforts. Which I didn’t mind, as that can add some humor to otherwise not so fun movies, but here things rarely reach the level of camp. Had some cast members embraced the less than stellar script and dialed up their turns, perhaps there might have been a little extra entertainment, but I doubt it would have made much of a difference. Elsie Baker seems to be most experienced of the lot, with some assorted small roles in film and television, while the cast also includes Barbara Chase, Leonard Shoemaker, and Roberta Reeves.
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