19th Oct2020

‘The Haunting of Sophie’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Fiona Whitelaw, Antonio Lujak, Antonella Salvucci, Rachel Daigh, Cearl Pepper, Anita Tenerelli, Melissa Leone | Written by Adriana Marzagalli, John Real | Directed by John Real

What could be scary about a music box? Your first thought is probably not a lot and you would more or less be correct but that hasn’t stopped them featuring in quite a few horror movies. Usually as silence is broken from them mysteriously playing on their own. But could a whole movie be based around this idea?! I found out soon enough with The Haunting of Sophie.

Perhaps the most annoying thing about this movie for me is that it doesn’t need to be a music box. It could be anything – a bucket, a cup, a fish tank, a cardboard box would do – there’s simply no reason for it to be a music box of some sort. It doesn’t help with the story, barely plays a part in the story and it isn’t necessary at all. It’s undoubtedly the reason UK distributor High Fliers decided to rename this film after the protagonist rather than use the original title!

You see The Haunting of Sophie finds our titlular character, an orphaned young girl named Sophie, find the aforementioned music box in her back garden and soon starts seeing a spirit of another young girl. A spirit that is not happy at all and soon needs to be stopped.

Although the guardian of the young girl does her best to stop the ghost, at first she thinks Sophie has an imaginary friend. This is one of many many horror movie tropes used, in what feels like a copy paste type of genre movie. There’s nothing original to see here. Actually, I lie. There was one hilarious moment that I have never seen before. A psychic comes to help the family with the spirit. After a brief tour of the house and some kind of explanation, she is unable to help. But she does know someone who might! She starts a seance to contact the former owner of the house and dead (yep you read that right) psychic. She isn’t much help as it happens.

I desperately try to enjoy some part of every movie I watch but it was really difficult with The Haunting of Sophie. The acting is amateurish at the best of times from a clearly inexperienced cast, awfully wooden at its worse. Any attempts at creating something scary just don’t work. It usually involved a score (that wasn’t too bad and the creepiest part of the movie) that got increasingly louder until that ‘jump’ scare that never came. The spirit itself is just a J-Horror,long-haired girl rip-off that is usually placed in situations via dodgy CGI.

One of the worst things a horror movie can do is not make you care about its characters. But I didn’t care if anyone in The Haunting of Sophie ended the movie dead or alive. I just had very little interest in this bland and uninspiring offering that I will almost definitely forget about this time next week.

* 1/5

The Haunting of Sophie is released on DVD today by High Fliers Films.

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