Rosalind Leigh dies. As the title suggests, she had the forethought to establish a will, leaving an incredibly haunted house to her estranged son Leon Leigh, and boy is he going to be scared. Bet you're wishing you'd spent more time with your crazy dead mom now and hadn't scoffed at the game of candles.

hey cool
Outstanding spook scenes
but YUCK
Not wild about Leon

Holy Amityville Batman, every square inch of this place is absolutely clown-car packed with haunted house stuff. We have: gargoyles, suits of armour, spiral staircase, broken doll, medieval weapons, harlequin puppets, taxidermy bear...thing, skeleton key locked room you can't get into, angel statues, virgin mary statues, dead mom diary (surely written in a crabbed hand for bonus points), jebus stained glass windows, plaques with strange cryptic proverbs, and really much, much more. And it's a miniature stone castle. And the power goes out a lot during big scary storms so you need candles. I'm saying if I were a ghost I'd totally ectoplasm my pants if I got this gig.

Some might complain that this is a slow movie, and it's a fact there are extended scenes of the guy just messing about looking at stuff, but I'm perfectly okay with just hanging out in a neat haunted house for a while. If you're bored you can play count the number of spooky objects in every shot.

Besides, I'd much rather that than what usually happens in these newfangled haunted house movies, which is the house coming to life and punching people in the face like in that silly remake of The Haunting. Overexposure is the cardinal sin of haunted house movies. There's a fine line, and if you cross it you suddenly have a monster movie and might as well just start handing out shotguns and calling Bruce Boxleitner to play the town sheriff.

The trick is to get as close as you can without going over, and with one exception I'm going to say this movie manages to find the haunted house G-spot. For example, there's a scene where the camera pans in on the face of a statue, and I says "movie, don't even have that statue's eyes open or by god I'll reach for the Scooby Doo jokes". Well they have the statue's eyes open. You know what though? They kind of pulled it off. I saw it coming and was all ready to balk, but instead hey, nice scene. And later when that thing crawls out of the bushes I was again with the "awww not a CG mons...saay, I don't hate that".

And no I am not contradicting what I just said about monster movies. In fact I think monster movies could learn a thing or two from this about how to make their critters more menacing. To me the creature mostly feels like a supernatural haunt here, not a rampaging beast. The movie's a bit vague on what it is or whether it's just in the guy's head, which I appreciate, but my take is that it's a congealed manifestation of the old lady's decades of lonliness. Why it wants to tear the guy to shreds I don't know. I don't have all the answers here. I have in fact lived alone longer than Oldboy though and beyond a certain point it can lead to a kind of antipathy, even anger, toward others, as if it's somehow their fault that one has lost touch. I understand that it isn't of course, but maybe the creature is just that angry feeling. I don't know. I'm just saying I liked it and its hateful mean little eyes.

'Cept that scene where it gets in and licks the guy's face and we get ultra closeup fake monster shots. I guess the temptation was finally irresistable, but I think that needs to be in the deleted scenes to demonstrate the director's editing skill. Really wish I hadn't seen that.

And the guy, well, I don't want to rubbish him here, there's nothing wrong with him per se, it's not a poor performance, but the character is just kind of your average troubled beard-stubble artist working through issues who inherits a haunted house in a movie guy. I don't hate him or anything but I'm not crazy about him either, and when a movie is basically a study of one guy's unravelling psychosis I do in fact need to be crazy about him. I found myself distracted by thoughts of how fantastic a movie this would be with someone like Roddy McDowall from Legend of Hell House or Vincent Price from...anything. House of Usher.

Also, and you can take it from the horse's mouth here, it's not a very authentic depiction of a creepy guy alone in a house.

So my favourite character ended up being the weird neighbor voice with his "oh one other thing, an animal, seems to have come out of the may be injured, and possibly dangerous...". I don't know why but I just loved that. Makes me think of all the cool neighbors I'd have if this were a good world. Those scary lesbian chicks from The Sentinel...crazy cat lady from Jeepers Creepers... The Klopeks.

Anyway pretty good movie. I appreciate that when it tries to scare you it has the decency to do so with actual ghosts and stuff instead of cats screeching out of closets. In fact it makes me relieved I'm not scared by movies or I think I'd be kind of worried about going outside right now, and I really need to check my trespasser cameras. You know that godawful noise the guy hears from the darkness right before the thing comes out? I've heard exactly that right outside my house at night. When a couple raccoons get going out in the swamp it sounds like something coming straight up out of Hell's toilet. Consider living out in the woods if you're a horror fan; you get the background ambience of a werewolf movie all the time.

The title of this movie makes me think about how odd it is that mere combination of vowels and consonants can somehow paint a vibe in our brains. I mean I understand why Wolf Butcher and Payne Ripper are scary names, but Rosalind Leigh doesn't even mean anything. Yet if you're making a ghost movie or writing a Nick Cave song you have to use a name just like that or it's not going to work. Someone named Tiffany van Weeden just ain't coming back from the grave as a restless spirit. Why? I don't know! What really gets me though is somehow it's better if you spell it "Rosalind Leigh" than "Rosalyn Lee". Isn't that weird?