The Haunting of Sharon Tate – USA, 2019

The Haunting of Sharon Tate is a 2019 American horror feature film written, co-produced and directed by Daniel Farrands (The Amityville Murders; The Haunting in Connecticut; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; et al). The Skyline Entertainment production stars Hilary Duff, Jonathan Bennett, Lydia Hearst and Pawel Szajda.

Plot:

Pregnant with director Roman Polanski‘s child and awaiting his return from Europe, twenty-six year-old Hollywood actress Sharon Tate becomes plagued by visions of her imminent death at the hands of Charles Manson‘s fervid followers…

The Haunting of Sharon Tate is being distributed in the United States by Saban Films (Between Worlds; Lizzie; The Super) via Voltage Pictures. Saban Films’ Bill Bromiley commented: “The Tate Murders remain a horrifying cultural fascination, even nearly fifty years after they occurred. Hilary is mesmerising as Sharon Tate; this is a brutal and unsettling story.”

Reviews:

“Though some of the tricks during the build up, as Sharon becomes increasingly fearful for her and her baby’s lives, are way too over-used to be scary. The music is loud and jarring, and frequently pierces slowly-building tension. Any feeling of growing menace really comes from that house. In theory a place of great privilege, its isolated spot looking down on the city becomes a frightening prison too far from help.” Caution Spoilers

” …this is a story involving real people who died in a truly horrific manner, whose deaths have already been exploited ad nauseum. As The Haunting of Sharon Tate is not a unadulterated historical retelling of a crime, nor is it a supernatural bent on a real-life event, it sits in a strange sort of territory that feels, well, a bit exploitative…” Jeannie Blu, Cryptic Rock

The Haunting of Sharon Tate is a poorly thought out and extremely distasteful film, with historical scene setting information clumsily shoehorned into the script to add veritas. There was a possibility of saying something interesting about chance vs causality here, but it was never likely to happen under such ham fisted and lacklustre direction. Just plain embarrassing…” David Dent, Dark Eyes of London

” …you’ve got to be pretty crass to make a second rate horror flick about such things actually happening in the light of a real and dreadful calamity. The film is not cinematic or remotely compelling. Most of the action takes place in semi-darkness, the flashback scenes repetitive to the point of boredom – the whole thing is uninspiring.” Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia

“The filmmakers put in the effort and knew they were making a piece that was a bit over-the-top, but that doesn’t excuse all the mistakes. Exploitive? Yes. Entertaining? Very. The Haunting of Sharon Tate plays more like a campy melodrama than a horror retelling of real events. The film isn’t great, but the insanity is still quite enjoyable.” EJ Moreno, Flickering Myth

“It missed the mark on several occasions, but overall it’s probably my favorite Charles Manson themed movie to hit the market in recent years […] Give this one a chance. With an internal time bomb of sadistic and sinister horror waiting to re-tell history, The Haunting of Sharon Tate reboots the original, real-life story without going too far with the gag.” Michael Therkelsen, Horror Society

” …as bad taste as it gets, but in Farrands’ defence, his heart does seem to be in the right place […] Farrands plainly has a lot of sympathy for Tate, and his film is an odd case of a filmmaker attempting to rescue a real-life victim and rewrite the past. Noble, perhaps, but the general shoddy execution of his film does this concept no favours.” Eric Hillis, The Movie Waffler

“The film employs every known trick in the book to try and ramp up the horror: from shadowy figures walking in front of the camera as the music takes a sudden and dramatic turn, to electronic equipment switching itself on, to dream sequences that only become dreams at the end. It is hard to know how anyone thought the making of this film would be a good idea.” John Leeson, OC Movie Reviews

” …because we have had great ones like The StrangersIntruders and Don’t Breathe; those films are fictional, which is why the home invasion sub-genre works. Basing such a film on a real-life crime just doesn’t work. We do go through the idea of the visions through dreams, which show most of the horror involved in the film.” Darren Lucas, Ready Steady Cut!

“Farrands’s overwrought approach ensures that the film doesn’t even succeed as a genre exercise, as he seems incapable of getting through a horror-tinged sequence without running amok with his unnecessarily spastic handheld camera and hyper-quick cutting […] there’s something gruesomely unsavory about presenting Sharon Tate as one of the crazy ones.” Wes Greene, Slant magazine

” …one of Tate’s nightmares accurately, and effectively recreates the murders. If the rest of the film had channeled that vibe this could have been a much better film. If it had even been a non Manson film it might have came off better, but this, sadly is a mess. I will give Duff credit for turning in a decent performance, better than I expected. Jonathan Bennett and Lydia Hearst are also good as Jay Sebring and Abigail Folger.” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

Cast and characters:

  • Hilary Duff … Sharon Tate
  • Jonathan Bennett … Jay Sebring
  • Lydia Hearst … Abigail Folger
  • Pawel Szajda … Wojciech Frykowski
  • Ryan Cargill … Steven Parent
  • Bella Popa … Sadie
  • Fivel Stewart … Yellow
  • Tyler Johnson … Tex Watson
  • Ben Mellish … Charles Manson

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