February 13, 2012
Movie Review: The Haunting of #24
John is down on his luck, so he moves into grimy little apartment house #24 where the paint is stained, the water drips, and all the tenants share a bathroom. But his situation is only temporary, until he finds a job and gets back on his feet.
The landlord says the place is fully occupied, but the only neighbor John sees is a wanton old woman who counsels him to accept that he cannot leave. All the other tenants, she says, are dead. “They’re all dead. Simple as that.”
When John’s ex-girlfriend Veronica disappears into the little black and white television from which only hostile faces stare, John realizes he cannot escape the building or his fate. There’s a grave in the backyard with a stone engraved with “Lie Still.” And the man in the photo he cannot destroy is the man in the basement, the original owner of the house, who eventually comes to visit him.
There’s no all-star cast, no fantastic makeup, no dazzling special effects in #24. But what this British horror flick does have is loads of atmosphere, disquieting despair, and a mounting level of apprehension reminiscent of David Lynch’s Eraserhead.
Is apartment #24 real, or is John mad? What he comes to realize is just what the old woman tells him: “There’s no help here. No friendly neighbors. No one at all. No one lives here. No one to help you. No one. Why fight it?”
This movie disturbed me like the short stories of Ramsey Campbell. Its ghosts will stalk the corridors of my mind for some time. 3.7/5.0 stars.
The Haunting of 24 was originally release in the UK as Lie Still in 2005. Written and directed by Sean Hogan. Starring Stuart Laing, Nina Sosanya, Robert Blythe, Susan Engel, and Granville Saxton.