DVD Reviews

Published on February 8th, 2014 | by Ed Sum


The Ganzfeld Haunting

Anyone who enjoys and remembers TV programs like MTV’s Fear and movies like Embrace of the Vampire will find the Gazfeld Haunting, a movie by The Breed director, Michael Oblowitz amusing. He creates a product that is pure fan service to a pulp market where interest in the paranormal is palpable at best. This movie is made for people who enjoys films like Hot Tub Time Machine than Paranormal Activity, and in some levels, a few viewers may even liken it to the 1999 version of The Haunting because of its crazy use of sound and sexual overtones.

Had this product been made to mirror the MTV’s show more closely, where the participants win some money by surviving the night, then it might be entertaining. Where this film goes is more like down a pit where there is a monster waiting to devour everyone. This movie’s execution is all over the place, and for the earnest student of the occult, this movie is best skipped.

When a bunch of first year psychology students — Lucky (Rumer Willis, “Sorority Row”), Graves (Toby Hemingway (“Black Swan”), Becket (Taylor Cole, “CSI: Miami”, and Eliot (Ryan Donowho, “Cabin Fever: Patient Zero”) — are snorting cocaine and drinking hard liquor, they obviously are not serious in exploring what goes on in a haunted house. Any dedicated researcher will know drugs and alcohol must be avoided before work. After these college co-eds put themselves in a self-induced high, they continue to conduct isolation experiments in an attempt to see if they have psionic abilities. The ganzfeld experiment is a controversial technique used by some researchers to test for ESP and telepathy by sensory deprivation. Sometimes, hallucinations are experienced and the evidence collected is hardly evidence for proof of the supernatural.

The plot which involves Beckett having a history with the house that she has conveniently forgotten is mildly interesting. Her surpressed memories surfaces while being here, and this film hardly spends enough time exploring the theme of how isolation can work to bring out the terror. This movie’s construction has no emotion. The consistent barrage of pitched whines and other digital effects is supposed to elicit discord, but it does not work when the audio mixer and director do not know when to fade it out or simply stop.

Even the screenplay could benefit from editing. Too many f-bombs are being dropped and that’s usually a case of a weak script. The soft core pornography is really unnecessary, and all it does is to turn a movie that wants to be scary into a college boys wet dream cum nightmare come true.

B-movies like this were practically a staple back in VHS era, featuring young love trying to make sense out of the supernatural when it crashes upon them. Full Moon Features is famous for furthering this niche market with films like Haunted Casino and Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt. Sex sells. FIlmmaker Charles Band (best known for Puppet Master and Subspecies) knows that formula is what fuels this particular pulp market. Maybe he may consider picking up The Gazfeld Haunting since that’s where this film rightly belongs.

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