A Haunting in Cawdor – USA, 2015 – reviews

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[Total: 2   Average: 2.5/5]

‘What’s done cannot be undone’

A Haunting in Cawdor – aka A Haunting in Michigan – is a 2015 American horror film written, produced and directed by Phil Wurtzel. It stars Shelby Young (Nightlight; 2 Bedroom 1 BathAmerican Horror Story), Cary Elwes (Saw) and Michael Welch (Z Nation; The Demented; Twilight).

Vivian Miller is serving out her jail sentence at a work release program in the Midwest. Her final ninety day sentence takes her to the Cawdor Barn Theatre, a dilapidated old structure run by Lawrence O’Neil, a troubled man raging at the mistakes of his past.

After Vivian views an old VHS tape of what looks like a murder being recorded, she sets out to unravel this horrific crime before she becomes the next victim of the supernatural forces inhabiting the haunted structure…

 

Buy DVD: Amazon.co.uk

The film is released on DVD in the UK by High Fliers Films on 6 November 2017 as A Haunting in Michigan.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …suffers from its low-rent production values and hand-held camerawork shaky enough to induce nausea. Despite the fine performances by Young as the troubled heroine and Elwes (dipping his toe in the horror waters again, after Saw) as the bitter director, A Haunting in Cawdor doesn’t cast much of a spell.” The Hollywood Reporter

” …the random moments of horror actually feel at odds with the more serious messages that might have been woven into the story. It’s too slow and ineffective to deliver anything really harrowing, and it’s too bland to be any fun. Brief moments of amateur dramatics and personal reflection just aren’t enough…” Horror Cult Films

“It’s not until the film’s last half-hour that some things actually happen — including the inevitable near-death by mysteriously falling lighting rig — and even then, they’re not very surprising or suspenseful […] More dismayingly, Wurtzel simply doesn’t eke much atmosphere or narrative purpose out of a script that never stops feeling generic and undercooked.” Variety

“Despite some clunky plotting and staging, A Haunting in Cawdor has the raw, grassroots makings of a feminist cult favorite in the vein of John Fawcett’s 2000 werewolf folktale Ginger Snaps. Few other reflections of the play dare ignore the king’s arc entirely, but here, refreshingly, Lady Macbeth’s — and Vivian’s — spiral into oblivion takes center stage.” The Village Voice

“As a disturbed young woman dangerously obsessed with on-stage paranormal activity, protagonist Vivian (Shelby Young) may evoke memories of Natalie Portman in Black Swan or Suspiria’s Jessica Harper. But she’s a comparatively underwritten character, failing to convince as a trauma victim.” Games Radar

“The twist is all too obviously telegraphed from the beginning and what was with that camera work??!! The film, ultimately, is a frustrating, disjointed, shaky experience. A great shame as there are good performances that merited a better final product.” UK Horror Scene

Filming locations:

Augusta and Battle Creek, Michigan
Los Angeles, California

Trivia:

The film’s working title was Cawdor.

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