Monday, February 10, 2014

The Bates Haunting – No Connection to What You're Thinking

Runtime: 76 minutes
Release Date: 2013?
Rating: R/NR?
Director: Byron Turk

The Bates Haunting opens with Agnes and her best friend Lily. Lily is the more adventurous and outspoken of the two, and she recently earned an acting job working for The Bates Haunting, a local haunted attraction that is only open for a short period in the fall. Though Agnes doesn't want to even visit, Lily begs her to come and go through on her opening night to see her in action. Something goes wrong, and Lily catches on fire. Most people laugh and cheer because they think it's part of the show, but Lily dies in the fire.

Cut to one year later. Agnes is now working in a fast food restaurant, but she quits her job. Needing to find work, her father manages to get her a job working in the same haunted attraction. Though the last thing she wants to do is work in the same place where her friend died, her father and friends convince her that it will be good for her. Not long after starting her new job, some of her coworkers die. As more bodies pile up, it becomes clear that something dark and sinister is going on here and that someone wants Agnes dead.

The Bates Haunting is one of those films that you see at the video store (if you still have those) or at Redbox and think that it looks interesting. Despite how the box looks, this movie has nothing to do with Psycho or anything related to the Bates Motel. This is a straight up horror film that takes place at a haunted attraction that just so happens to have the same name as a popular horror franchise and somehow manages to escape being sued.

This film has its share of good moments and bad moments. On the one hand, it offers a fairly interesting look at what happens behind the scenes of a haunted attraction. Maybe everybody doesn't hang out after hours, drink, and hook up, but I like to think that they do. It also has some pretty good acting for a straight to DVD flick. I've heard comments about how Jean Louise O'Sullivan (Agnes) was a terrible actress, but I actually liked her performance. For someone with just a handful of credits to her name, she does a pretty good job. My now ex-boyfriend particularly loved seeing Ryan Dunn turn up in the beginning of the film. I'm not entirely sure, but I'm guessing that this was one of his last performances.

On the other hand, this is just your stereotypical straight to DVD horror flick. There really isn't anything new or different that it offers to the genre. Most of the death scenes seem a little lacking, and many of the actors appear to just sleepwalk through their roles. While I don't think I'll add The Bates Haunting to my want list anytime soon, it was interesting enough to keep me watching and worth the rental price.

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