Released: 5th April
Seen: 6th November
When we look through history for the point when certain eras ended, we tend to look for major events that were turning points. It can be argued that the 60s, the era of free love, ended on August 9th 1969 when actress Sharon Tate and four of her friends were brutally murdered by the Manson Family (who I shall henceforth refer to as as “that pack of murdering assholes” because I’m the one typing this and I get to be as petty as I want!). The vile crime was historic in how shocking it was and the man who inspired it (now dead, YAY) was instantly recognized as the face of true evil. It’s a tragedy that people keep revisiting in film, to varied results. It’s usually incredibly tasteless, focusing on that pack of murdering assholes and they never have good acting. The one time I can think of when someone did something good with the entire horrific affair was earlier this year when Once Upon A Time In Hollywood did a “What If?” story where Sharon never even had to know who that pack of murdering assholes was… so, naturally, in the same year we get the best possible version of a retelling of the Sharon Tate murders we also have to get the absolute worst version because we live in a hellscape and everything is awful.
The Haunting of Sharon Tate takes its inspiration from an actual quote by Sharon Tate where she claimed to have a premonition about her own death. Using this as a jumping pad, the film hypothesizes that Sharon Tate (Hilary Duff) keeps having these nightmare visions of the upcoming murders in such overwhelming detail that she’s able to use them to help her fight off that pack of murdering assholes when they come. They do this by repeatedly showing Sharon and her friends’ violent murder in dream sequences that can best be described as “Tasteless pieces of excrement that were edited by a very stupid dog”. She continues to spend the entire movie terrified about her upcoming murder, until the actual night of the murder itself when she is permitted to fight that pack of murdering assholes in a dramatic horror movie-esque battle that turns her into a final girl in a really bad horror movie that’s made into a tasteless horror movie thanks to its subject matter.
Nothing about this movie works. Nothing. It’s not well shot, it’s edited like crap, it uses slow motion to desperately try and hit a 90 minute runtime, the acting would look bad if it were in a porn film, the dialogue is garbage and the entire intent behind the film is to get people outraged enough that they’ll hate-watch it out of curiosity. Congrats on that by the way because I hate-watched this piece of crap and I can’t believe the same people who made the Crystal Lake Memories documentary were stupid enough to make this film. Everyone involved should feel shame for making this film, it’s that bad.
Let’s just begin with the visual aesthetic… it’s laughably bad. It looks like they rented a cheap home on Air B&B and filmed it on an old 90’s camcorder, the ones where you would just put a VHS tape in the camera and record on that. Sometimes shots aren’t focused properly, everything is badly framed and shaky as hell. There’s no reason for this, it’s just done because no one gave a shit. This film isn’t trying to be good, it’s trying to get attention with a name that screams “Oh, this is going to be tasteless”. The dream sequences are some of the most painful pieces of film to look at because not only are they not scary, which I can only assume is the intent that they were going for, but the editing is baffling as hell. It’s a visual mess from top to bottom and god I wish that was its only problem.
The acting is just awful, by everyone. Charlie isn’t menacing in any way, all of Sharon’s friends are various shades of “why are you even here?” and Sharon herself is just… bland would be kind, so let’s go with bland for now. I couldn’t be bothered to tell you a single name of any actor besides our lead, who is only cast because someone thought casting Lizzie Maguire in a horror movie would be funny. No one is good, there’s no actual acting going on. Maybe if I stretched I could say that some of the scenes when that pack of murdering assholes break-in had some of the actors looking scared… maybe I could say that, but in reality, half of them don’t even do that convincingly. It’s some of the worst acting I’ve seen this year, to the point where I don’t even want to call it acting.
There’s nothing redeemable about this, not a single thing. I sat and tried to think of one positive thing I could say about The Haunting of Sharon Tate but there just isn’t anything. The visuals, acting, dialogue and sound are all subpar. Even if we pretended this wasn’t about Sharon Tate, if it was just a regular home invasion film with someone getting premonitions about people breaking into their home it would still be atrocious, but the fact they decided to use Sharon Tate as the main character for this drivel is just pathetic on so many levels. Everyone involved with this should be ashamed, they didn’t just make a bad film but they made a film that’s actively disrespectful to the victims of one of the most shocking murders of our time. There is no happy ending here, nothing redeeming, nothing of value. It’s a disgraceful little film that will hopefully be lost to the sands of time. And now we just have to wait for the director to finish his next film, The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson… because he’s gone from making some of the best horror documentaries in recent history to making exploitative trash that I wouldn’t piss on if it was on fire.