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How Much is that Haunting in the Window?

The Witch in the Window follows a man, Simon (Alex Draper), and his son, Finn (Charlie Tacker), as they attempt to flip a home that appears to be haunted by its previous resident. The woman's dark history makes itself known through the supernatural happenings in the house, and the man must make a tough decision on how to handle the apparition.

The Witch in the Window Review

If I were to commend this film (that also played at Telluride Horror Show in the not-so-distant past) for anything above all else, it'd be its unusual storytelling that breaks the mold of the haunted house genre in its approach. It gives explanation to the haunting's gradual strength. It attempts to logically dissect to the audience the protagonist's reasoning to stay in the home in a very human way. The manifestations of the house aren't confined to the finale following an hour and a half of creaks and shadows. It's refreshing.

The Witch in the Window isn't flawless filmmaking, but it is solely unique. The flow from scene to scene never drags but also never changes its pace. Even as things become dark, scary and bleak, we are at the same pace we were at to open the film. It's an awkward feeling at times, but I believe this helps to establish the humanity and reality of it all.

From beginning to end, this movie is about Simon and his desperate attempt to keep his life and family from falling apart. It is symbolized through the haunted home, and its supernatural resident is the driving force of anguish and hopelessness. The scares are grounded outside of oft-meaningless jumps, and are thereby festering to the psyche. The relationship of father and son collides well in the situation and furthers their dynamic throughout.

The film feels equal parts haunting and heart-wrenching. It's a powerfully woven tale of horror masked in the guise of a slow, quiet indie film. There are moments in the waning final act that I feel like it could have been packaged into a short film of 15 to 30 minutes, but then we would have missed the thick dialogue and story that filled the other hour. It's an interesting conflict in my mind in which both sides of the fence have equal footing. In the end, the slow pace still doesn't feel like its dragging or that it's stuffed with fluff, so I'm fine with the feature-length runtime.

Horror Rating System

Horror Qualifier: 8/10

Horror Quality: 6/10 Film Quality: 7/10

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