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It’s Scary How Bad “The Haunting Of Sharon Tate” Is

For the moment, we can put aside how much this project is in bad taste. The Haunting of Sharon Tate takes a tragic real life murder and makes a crappy horror flick out of it. Moreover, it gets supernatural agency to an actual criminal act. All on its own, that would be terrific. Worse, the film itself is almost unwatchable, that’s how bad it is. When a movie does as many things wrong as this one does, you wonder how it got made in the first place? Tasteless in concept, misguided in execution, and an utter bore, this is among the worst that 2019 has produced so far. Seriously, you have no idea how awful this is, and I sincerely hope you never find out.

In case the title didn’t spell it out for you, this is a tale of how Sharon Tate (Hilary Duff) met her demise, and of course, history has it wrong. Heavily pregnant with husband/director Roman Polanski’s child, Sharon is just idly waiting for him to return to Hollywood from Europe. A bored actress in her mid 20s, she mostly spends time her friends, including Abigail Folger (Lydia Hearst) around the giant home she and Roman share. However, she also becomes plagued by visions of her imminent death, ones that seem incredibly real. Her friends dismiss it, though the presence of some strange figures are deeply unsettling to her. As we know, none of this is going to end well. Daniel Farrands writes and directs here, if you can call it that, while Carlo Rinaldi handles the cinematography. Among the rest of the cast, names such as Jonathan Bennett, Ryan Cargill, Tyler Johnson, Ben Mellish, Bella Popa, Fivel Stewart, andPawel Szajda fill things out.

Where to begin here? The performances are so flat, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was everyone’s first role. Not only does it seem like amateur hour in front of the camera, it’s just as bad behind the scenes. For one thing, the sound work is dreadful, with any dialogue scene sounding closer to badly dubbed pornography than an actual film. Whether it’s poor ADR work or just indifferent filmmaking, it was noticeably terrible. Daniel Farrands’ decision to actually write this movie in the first place was a huge blunder, but he then exacerbates matters by directing it like he’s blindfolded and has one hand tied behind his back.

Hypothetically, a film like this could have been at least interesting, had dozens of changes been made. The “haunting” part is mindbogglingly in bad taste, but looking into the final hours of Sharon Tate’s life has potential, story wise. Who knows, maybe Quentin Tarantino will partly explore that when Once Upon a Time in Hollywood comes out this summer? Regardless, taking the horror route here is misguided at best, and offensive at worse. Almost without exception, everything here in The Haunting of Sharon Tate leans toward the worst aspects too. It’s appalling how something so tragic was turning into direct to video quality horror.

If you see a worse movie than The Haunting of Sharon Tate, you’ll have really gone looking for crap cinema, and I don’t envy you one bit. Compared to this, Farrands’ other 2019 horror outing, The Amityville Murders, is a filmmaking clinic. Both are bad, but there’s a chasm separating the two. That prior flick this year is just a regular, garden variety bad horror effort. This, however, is on another plane of terrible existence. Avoid it at all costs. Not only does Sharon Tate deserve much better, any audience member who makes the mistake of seeing this one deserves better too.

The Haunting of Sharon Tate is out now!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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