The Haunting of Sharon Tate is the latest film from horror writer-director Daniel Farrands. The film follows the days leading up to the murder and focuses on Tate as she becomes increasingly distraught from visions of her impending death. Using the premonition as the basis for the film, Farrands dramatizes the tragic event (a few times actually) and presents an alternate reality where Tate and friends survive the night.
“Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?” The Haunting of Sharon Tate plays out like a heinous fever dream, adding a washed-out 60s look and a supernatural twist to the real-life event. Farrands poses the film as a one big “what if” moment. What if Sharon and friends took control of their destiny? What if life is predetermined? What if this movie took its crumb of a decent idea and executed it well? There is no emotional resonance with the characters or the story being told, only fodder for a humdrum home invasion film. This film was executed poorly and it started with the script. The dialogue is inept, shoving constant talk of existentialism in your face. Every conversation is for the sake of plot and doesn’t offer insight to who these people truly were. Tate is presented as a pseudo-intellectual and everything she says revolves around the idea of fate. There is no tension, only loud attempts for a jump scare. The sound work is sloppy with countless ADR issues. Even the editing is shoddy, inserting documentary footage at odd moments and relying on fast cuts to increase the shock factor.
Lizzie McGuire and Aaron Samuels walk into a bar… I’m not really sure who exactly this movie is attempting to pander to. With Hilary Duff and Jonathon Bennett as the top billing actors, a reach to millennials doesn’t really make sense here. The targeted age is too young to have experienced the cultural shock of the Manson murders. The acting overall is a tough watch. Duff is not a convincing Tate let alone a convincing final girl, and the rest of the cast is forgettable. However, their mediocrity should be accredited to Farrands since all they had to work with was a first draft script. Meryl Streep would not have been able to save this.
Farrands tries to offer a sense of agency but it just comes off as exploitative,
implying that Tate and her friends may have survived only if they tried.
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