Decent set design & locations, & moody if a bit shaky cinematography, fooled me into thinking The Marsh (2006) was going to be a really decent spooky thriller. A good cast raised expectations further.
Claire (Gabrielle Anwar), who writes & illustrates cutesy horror books for children, suffers from horrific nightmares about an isolated farmhouse.
She discovers the house from her terrible dreams exists, situated between a cornfield & the swamp, so moves right in. Not what I'd've done.
The big rental is called Rose Marsh Farm, in a rural area popular with tourists in other seasons, but as it's winter, it's a lonesome locale.
Befriended by a small-town newspaperman & local historian, at first Noah (Justin Louis) seems very nice, but he ain't.
She begins having increasingly intense hallucinatory or psychic experiences in the poltergeist-ridden house, so soon consults the local occultist, Geoffrey Hunt (Forest Whitaker), whose calling card she found underneath the sofa.
Geoff is the sort of dude who likes to rescue damsels in distress, & unlike Noah, there's nothing duplicitous about him.
Together Geoff & Claire experience a great variety of haunted house phenomenon. It's so ornately overdone that the film leaves no time to make the dramatic content or the all-important backstory complete or interesting.
The house has a grimmer history than several men of the nearby town, including Noah, want known. Claire seems to be connected to that past. An orphan, it soon seems likely she was the little girl who survived a night of terror, though she has forgotten that childhood trauma.
The haunting spreads throughout the nearby swamp & reaches right into town, resulting in deaths by gruesome methods.
Are the ghosts of the child & the teenager evil? Is one or the other or both avenging themselves? Or is there something much worse beyond ghosts? Do we care?
It all gets far too exaggerated in the latter third to be anything but silly. It has some continuity problems, too, like how did Claire get so clean all of a sudden after crawling out of the muddy swamp.
[SPOILER ALERT!] The resolution of the "mystery" is simpleminded melodrama. The ghost-child is Rosy (Niamh Wilson), Claire's twin sister, who was killed by the child molesting teenager, who little Claire in turn shot dead. This part of the story is rushed & robbed of any strength.
The final exorcism through the magic leaded glass door is clumsily orchestrated, reliant on cheezy FX that spoil rather than finalize the story. [END SPOILER ALERT]
As "product" it's fair to middlin' entertainment, but the B-movie script didn't deserve more than a microbudget, & the extra money expended for cast & cinematographer was wasted.
What began with promise ends as disappointment, mostly due to the mediocre script & rotten editing, as the actors did put as much as they could muster into this foolery & it didn't help.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl