Handheld horror inducts yet another tired entry into its seemingly endless reign of crap in Muirhouse, a wholly disappointing and irredeemable project from Tanzeal Rahim.
Lazily opting for the typical handheld narrative; Muirhouse follows the story of Philip Muirhouse, an author out to promote his latest ghost book by staying in the haunted Monte Cristo household, only by the end of the night three people will be dead and Muirhouse himself will be found by the police wandering miles away.
When the film opens on a squad car coming across Muirhouse, he looks less “nightmare victim” and more “festival goer post-hammering tent pegs” and from that moment it all gets worse. Long stretches of nothing are perhaps the signature of this piece, cutting into the 80 minute runtime and questioning whether the obviously bare script deserves a feature length flesh-out. These boring wasted minutes are not nuanced moments of apprehension and fulfilment, they do not contribute to the film whatsoever, they simply make it dull and let the viewer’s attention wander from the start.
In terms of the fear-factor, Muirhouse could have easily achieved the minimum scares by perhaps being a bit more balsy. Instead of going for consistent jump-scares, which would have at least evoked some kind of response, Muirhouse gets bogged down fairly early on with confused visuals and audio ensuring that there’s little to scare. In its favour, however, these incoherencies recreate the ridiculous nature of paranormal investigation to a tee.
The aspect of Muirhouse most worthy of note would be its majestic setting which unfortunately does most of the film’s work for it. Filmed at the actual haunted Monte Cristo house in Australia, the house oozes creepy, every room and hallway inspires some kind of dread, but the film still suffers from shoddy scripting and bad filming which make it seem like a location scout’s presentation piece as opposed to an actual horror film. Seriously, a documentary on the house might be a better use of the space because it is the perfect haunted house.
The “climax” works only in the fact it’s just as tedious and flat as the rest of the film. A quick-cut bullshit ending does little to explain the set-up at the start, instead stopping in an awkward and frankly laughable state of affairs. Blair Witch-style sudden impact finales only work with the right build up and imagery, here, Muirhouse squandered a final chance at coherency.
The ultimate bogus horror based on minimal understanding of the mechanics of fear and cinema. Blank scripting, dull performances, a patronizing guide to ghost hunting ,and non-existent scares keep Muirhouse hopelessly marooned in tedium. This is horror cinema at its least entertaining and most despicable.
Dir: Tanzeal Rahim
Stars: Iain P.F. McDonald, Kate Henderson, Libby Ashby, Steve Lynch