Well this was one horror I hadn’t come across before, and although the plot seemed a little tired, I must say that The Haunting of Briar House (2015) or The Unspoken as it’s also known, did a good job of keeping you intrigued for the most part.
I wouldn’t say, as the viewer, you felt particularly connected at any point to the lead character – teenage babysitter Angela (Jodelle Ferland), who ventures deeper into the secrets and scary happenings of the Briar House. This is the first failing of the film, in my opinion, as you didn’t really ‘get to know her’ and therefore you were not really that bothered about her fate.
A second failing of the film was the other two main characters – the new inhabitants of the Briar House – child Adrian (Sunny Suljic) and his mother Jeannie (Pascale Hutton). The mother for me was far too calm in her new (and peculiar) surroundings, despite her knowing about the rumours of the past owners of the House who vanished from their home without a trace 17 years earlier. This, for me, was a dead giveaway that the mother, at least, knew more than she was letting on…
But what followed was an interesting build up of uneasiness as Angela becomes aware of a fourth presence in the House, one who rolls marbles back at her from under locked cupboard doors, and lures its victims to untimely deaths in scalding hot baths.
Plenty of suspense but no real ‘surprise’. The Haunting of Briar House risks being banished to the haunted house genre graveyard. Worse still, I don’t think anyone will care. *** (3 out of 5 stars)
If you have ever seen The Omen (1976), then you know what’s coming and who is behind these strange goings-on at the Briar House. I’m not one for spoilers in my reviews, but I can’t help but hint at it on this occasion. Needless to say, this development really annoyed me and it made for a bit of a weak ending which was a real shame. Then there’s the closing road trip of Adrian and his mother as they make their way to Amityville…wasn’t there a famous haunted house there? You can see where this is going…
This is the first time I have watched a Sheldon Wilson film. It appears that he has directed quite a few horrors, and this experience certainly shows in The Haunting of Briar House, I just wish he’d explored a different ending/outcome.