Jun 162019

The Haunting of Sharon Tate was just a bad idea from the beginning and even if it didn’t poorly exploit the real life tragedy by interjecting an almost fantasy element, the technical aspects were pretty bad as well.



The Haunting of Sharon Tate

Genre(s): Drama, Suspense
Lionsgate | R – 95 min. – $21.99 | June 4, 2019

Date Published: 06/16/2019 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Daniel Farrands
Writer(s): Daniel Farrands (written by)
Cast: Hilary Duff, Jonathan Bennett, Lydia Hearst, Pawel Szajda, Ryan Cargill
Features: Commentary, Featurette
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.39
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 24.50 GB
Total Bitrate: 30.54 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


Note: This review contains some MAJOR SPOILERS so please beware.

One wonders how certain movies get made. How does do production companies and producers take a step back and wonder whether one should take a fantasy-horror route for a set of real life murders, especially when one was at the time a star on the rise. The Haunting of Sharon Tate is a garish and terrible horror flick that has a shocking ending that was utterly disrespectful of the victims and their friends and families. Quite frankly, and saying this as someone not all that familiar with Sharon Tate’s brief career, I was a bit astonished with what I had just watched.

Basically the origin behind The Haunting of Sharon Tate is based off of an interview for ‘Fate’ magazine – a publication known for stories about the paranormal – the actress gave in 1968 that she had some sort of premonition that she and friend Jay Sebring were tied up and murdered. From that, writer-director decided it was a grand idea to make a horror movie out of it, not only doing what Hollywood does with the “Based on” or “Inspired by” tags, but taking it a step further and more or less integrating elements of… Donnie Darko of all movies. Yes, there is a fantasy element, particularly at the end, which is the cause for most of the controversy, and it is indeed disrespectful to murder victims, and Tate in specifically.

Hilary Duff, yes you read that right, plays Hollywood starlet Sharon Tate, pregnant and carrying the child to neglectful husband and filmmaker Roman Polanski. She arrives home for rest and relaxation as her due date drew closer. With her to help are friends Jay (JONATHAN BENNETT), Abigail (LYDIA HEARST) and Wojciech (PAWEL SZAJDA) as well as the new caretaker Steven Parent (RYAN CARGILL).

The movie covers the final three days with Tate growing increasingly annoyed with Abigail and boyfriend Wojciech  while also seeing her close friendship with Jay, though never says in the movie (that I recall), the pair were once together before Tate met and married Polanski. In any case, over those days the house gets visited by somebody (implied to be Charles Mason) and strange packages with recordings left at the door. Tate herself begins having premonitions that feel real to her of Mason’s cult breaking in and murdering them, only to wake up; the final one, and most disrespectful, finds them actually able to fight back which more or less devolves into the home invasion/slasher territory.

The ending probably was the most egregious where we find the friends to manage to fend off the three intruders, Wojciech even kills one of the female members first hitting her face with the toilet tank lid before pushing her face down in a tub. Tate, as they are exiting, turns around only to discover her and her friends lying with sheets over their bodies, clearly the murders having been committed. She turns back, and the five walk out smiling. The film opens with a quote from Alan Edgar Poe, in describing a multi-verse and we get to see an instance in which they manage to live on for, presumably, happy and peace-filled lives. Like I said, kind of like Donnie Darko, just without the style.

The acting wasn’t anything special either. Hilary Duff, who also served as one of the nine executive producers, certainly was not good delivering with little conviction or giving the proper weight but in her defense, she is saddled with some awful dialogue that I doubt even the far superior Margot Robbie could make work. The others are rather non-descript which probably says more about how the characters were written versus the talent of the actors.

Writer-Producer-Director Daniel Farrands makes only his second feature film following 2018’s The Amityville Murders which was another true crime story however having never seen it, not sure how exploitive it was, but in fairness the “Amityville” crime has been exploited ad nauseam already. Farrands dabs again to the genre with The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, with Mena Suvari in the titular role; I’m sure that one will be respectful. Farrands is no stranger to horror having also produced and directed two excellent documentaries: Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy and Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th.

Here, and I’m sure Farrands had the best of intentions, was just a bad idea and if this was just called “The Haunting of Karen Slate”, it would’ve just been another bad movie amongst many bad movies and would’ve been lost in the crowd. As it is, The Haunting of Sharon Tate was not only poorly made, but the exploitative nature and throwing in some strange alt timeline fantasy just felt wrong.



This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is a Digital HD redemption code and the only feature included is an Audio Commentary with writer-director Daniel Farrands and Premonitions: The Haunting of Sharon Tate (14:01) making-of and behind-the-scenes featurette containing interviews with the cast and filmmakers.


VIDEO – 4.0/5

Lionsgate tries to sweep The Haunting of Sharon Tate under the rug presented in its original 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and has been given a 1080p high-definition transfer. For the most part it’s a fine looking picture; detail is decent enough while colors are more on the muted side considering the subject matter and that a fair portion does take place at night. Although nothing noteworthy, at least does appear clean with no obvious signs of pixilation or artifacts.

AUDIO – 3.5/5

Similarly, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is serviceable but nothing special. Dialogue comes through well enough via the center channel and the ambient noises from the front and rear channels were only so-so. Nothing outstanding but functional.


OVERALL – 1.0/5

The Haunting of Sharon Tate was just a bad idea from the beginning and even if it didn’t poorly exploit the real life tragedy by interjecting an almost fantasy element, the technical aspects were pretty bad between the poor script, pedestrian direction and some bad acting, most notably from the usually amiable Hilary Duff. This is one that should’ve collected dust in some non-descript building. Just skip.




Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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