Friday, 20 November 2015

FARHOPE TOWER - Review By Greg Klymkiw - 2015 Toronto Blood in the Snow Film Festival

Farhope Tower(2015)
Dir. April Mullen
Scr. Jeremy & Michael Doiron
Starring: John White, April Mullen, Evan Williams, Lauren Collins,
Tim Doiron, Brittany Allen, Ari Millen

Review By Greg Klymkiw

The script is everything, even in horror films aimed at the lowest common denominators. There has to be a "logic" which is worked out within the context of the film's world. If it isn't, you get something like Farhope Tower.

When an envy-driven hubby brutally beats his pregnant wife to death, then hangs himself before her pulpy, battered, bloody body, it sets off a curse which plagues the Farhope Tower. After a seemingly endless rash of suicides, the (nondescript) city to which it stands as a centrepiece, shuts the building down and allows it to remain shackled, empty and rotting for years - a blight upon the community, environs and worse yet, haunted.

Living in the same city, a group of not-too-bright twenty-somethings have been pathetically trying, for years it seems, to land a TV pilot for a ghost busting reality series - uploading their adventures to YouTube and believing they're on the verge of going big time. Alas, the network they've pitched needs them to deliver something more sensational before they'll offer a green-light.

They want them to tackle Farhope Tower.

In spite of the building's notoriety, it has apparently never been assailed by any other reality shows, which is already a tad hard to swallow. Even more ludicrous, though, is that our group of burgeoning TV ghost-busters have never tried to shoot there either, even though they live in the same city. Yes, the movie eventually delivers a lame backstory to explain this, but in a genre in which one is happy to strain a certain degree of credulity, one is simply forced to swallow wholesale, massive incredulity.

Given far too many other holes in the plot, the kind that pull us out of the drama because we're asking too many questions about the logic of the whole thing, it becomes almost nigh impossible to enjoy a few of the film's decently-directed frissons, occasionally creepy atmosphere and solid performances from an attractive cast of babes (one of whom is director Mullen) and hunks. We're finally left with a relatively short running time that feels longer than it is whilst we follow our group of reality-TV wannabes throughout the building as things go bump in the night and the inevitable body count takes over.

Part of the problem is the very nondescript nature of the film's setting. Without rooting the story in something even vaguely indigenous, removes all incentive for the filmmakers to pay attention to things like, uh, logic. Even the centrepiece itself feels removed from any kind of reality. The interiors feel like a warehouse rather than a high-rise.

It's too bad the script is so lame and rife with cliches since there are a few effective scares in the picture. Ultimately though, Farhope Tower offers little in the way of hope that the movie is going to be any more than a run-of-the-mill, straight-to-video time-waster.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: *1/2 One-and-a-Half-Stars

Farhope Tower is playing at the 2015 Toronto Blood in the Snow Film Festival.