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Horror - Specters

Buy Specters
Marina Sirtis, Lauren Birkell, Dean Haglund
Directed by Leirness
Shadowland Pictures 2004
Xenon Pictures 2005

The first five minutes of Spectres look exactly like one of those After School Specials. A car crash and a little boy, a girl in a tub cutting her veins and a ghost showing up to watch her do it soon make it clear Spectres is a not scary but eerie horror movie and a good one.

This not very scary but tense horror movie keeps its After School Special approach for a while. The story of a mother, Marina Sirtis of Star Trek The Next Generation fame, and her daughter Kelly, (Lauren Birkell of Van Wilder and Paparazzi), spending the summer in a rented cottage in the hope they can reconnect and the mother can understand why her daughter tried to kill herself is very much the kind of topic that afternoon special would do. Add to this a friend for Kelly, a psychologist, a summer house that gets creepier each time you hear weird music with a shot of stuff moving on its own, a psychic, and you get the horror movie sans splatter and gore Spectres is.

Sirtis is ambivalent and uneven in her portrayal of the mother. She either comes across as queen bitch or as a caring, workaholic bossy mother who doesn t know what to do. It is obvious, however, she tries to control Kelly s life a bit too much. For example, she tries to get psychologist Dr. Halsey (Dean Haglund of the X Files) to side with her when she is against Kelly getting a summer job with a local kids organization and attempts to put him in his place when he does not. The movie doses just the right amount of story and creepy but not scary stuff as it goes along telling its story so that the viewer isn t quite sure what is going on but wants to keep watching.

The one weak point in Spectres and where a massive dose of willing suspension of disbelief will be needed is when Dr. Halsey figures out way to quickly that Kelly s new friend is a manifestation and not a real person. He is also quick to bring in a psychic friend of his, Will Franklin (played by Tucker Smallwood of Deep Impact and Smallwood). Of course, once you get a psychic in the mix, a lot more people and things go bump in broad daylight.

However, just when you think you have figured this movie out and it is going for a nice little ending faithful to its after school special impersonation it pulls a really good surprise and justified twist on the viewer that sends a shiver up your back and definitely keeps you interested. It seems not everything is at it seems.

Spectres is a good horror movie for people who do not like blood and guts all over the place but are more interested in a good story, a couple of mildly scary bits mixed in with a couple of rather funny ghostly going ons. The story is complicated enough to keep you interested, the actors do a fine job, and the movie just plain works.

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