Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dreams of the Dead (2007)

 Dreams of the Dead
Written by John Orrichio
Directed by John Orrichio and Karl Petry

Aubrey Arnold...Cathy Loch
Max Shapiro...Tony Rugnetta
Maria Richardson...Jacki Vogel

Aubrey Arnold is a "successful musician" who may or may not be losing her edge. With more practice needed and eight more songs to write, she and her all-girl backup band move into the Danbury House, Aubrey's old family homestead, to complete work on their latest album. What they don't realize is that the house is haunted by the half-naked spirits of two young women who were murdered by Aubrey's great-great-grandfather Samuel, who suffered from "Mad Hatter Syndrome."

The spooky shenanigans begin almost immediately, with candles and fireplaces lighting by themselves, televisions turning on in the middle of the night and delivering cryptic EVP messages, and finally the ghostly gals themselves showing up to encourage Aubrey to "seek the truth" and "don't believe the lies."

And herein lies the problem. Even with the haunted going-ons, the creepy caretaker Mr. Carmichael, the decent special effects and musical score, the house just never comes across as scary as it's supposed to be. It's too well lit and in too good of shape to be effective. Although I will admit that there is an all-too-brief scene with a stuffed doll moving of its own accord that was creepy as hell.

Eat your heart out, Chucky.

Despite the fact that it's Aubrey's house, and Aubrey's guilty grandfather--and therefore, in essence, these are Aubrey's ghosts--it seems to be Max, their representative from the record label, who leads the charge in the investigation. What they discover at movie's end is what the viewing audience already knows--it's shown to us almost the moment that the movie begins!

Dreams of the Dead can't truly be considered a horror movie, because nothing horrifying happens. Even the characters in the film don't seem frightened by anything that has happened, only curious. It could more aptly be described as a supernatural mystery, except for the fact that right from the get-go, the solution to the mystery was given away. The movie would have been better served if the audience was just as much in the dark regarding the truth as Aubrey was, that way the Big Reveal could have been just that.

It takes a master stroke to tell you the answer first, and still expect you to care about the question. A master stroke that is unfortunately absent here. It's not a badly made film, just badly arranged. And sometimes that's enough.

Tony Rugnetta, who played Max Shapiro, was the real shining star here. He's a surprisingly good actor considering that, at this point, he had only been doing it for two years. Think of him as the Poor Man's Robert Forster. Here's hoping we see more of him in the future.

And for the pervos out there, there's a reason this movie is sometimes subtitled "An Erotic Haunting." To wit: Nipples Aplenty.

AKA: The Haunting of Danbury House

View the trailer below!

97 Minutes
Not Rated
United States

Dreams of the Dead is currently ranked #31,794 in DVD's at Read more about it at the IMDB, visit John Orrichio's official webpage, or buy it today!


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