I did not like the Haunting of Helena.
The story line has promise: single mother and young daughter move into a very creepy Italian apartment complex. Daughter looses her first tooth and then the deadly tooth fairy is out on the loose! I was like, Killer Tooth Fairy? Awesome. I'm down.
Although the first opening scenes are lovely, spooky, dramatic - overall well done, after that it quickly becomes apparent that this movie is not going to live up to my expectations. Here are some reasons why:
The dialog is meh. Really meh. Although I was willing to pass this off to poor writing translation, it simply went to far too many times and halfway though the movie I was chuckling whenever someone spoke... and I shouldn't have been chuckling.
- The apparently soon-to-be-loosing-her-first-tooth, Helena, is too old to be loosing her first tooth. The character clearly has two fully grown adult front teeth already (and is very visible throughout the film) but, semantics. I was going to pass this off to the difficulty of actually finding a good child actor who hasn't already lost their two front teeth. No doubt casting this part could be very difficult. But the child (Helena) was a terrible actor and I simply couldn't take her seriously anymore. Additionally, little Helena appeared to change age all over the place. At the beginning she almost appeared in her early teens, by the middle of the film she appeared to be around 8 - it was odd and not a part of the story line.
- Everyone's acting made me very sad.
- There was too much going on with the back story. I like healthy back stories! In fact I'm not a huge fan of 'no reason for this madness' in movies unless it's done with a wonderful magical touch (see also Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds). But this movie went too far with the complexity. The catalyst(s) was vague, to the point that trying to the put the pieces of the story together sounded like as much fun as playing 52 Card Pick-Up. Italian malaria carrying mosquitoes, killer tooth fairy, crazy car accident that does and does not play a role in the film, Italian Fascist government, Killer Wolves, absentee father who is actually not absent, Ogres, Wardrobe versus the Mental Institution - which one is more dangerous in this story? What the Hell Is Going On Here? Too much, there was just too much.
- I simply could not take the husband's hat seriously...I just...no. No to that Hat!
That all said - there were some pretty neat things throughout the film:
Scenery was Lovely!
Cinematography was Very Well Done!
Special effects were quite impressive.
The 'Raining Teeth' scene is pretty bad-ass.
I don't like giving unhappy reviews about movies. I try to see the awesome in all films - but this one pushed my limits. The Haunting of Helena had the makings of a really scary movie but I don't think it quite made it, which is really too bad.
That all said, I can see where some people could enjoy this film. There is some fun here, some good stories and general entertainment. But I'm picky and don't have much spare time to spend watching both good and bad movies without throwing a bit of a fit.
Suggested pairing: a tart olive plate, a very young bottle of wine, lots of stinky cheese with day old bread.