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Anthology film created from two unaired episodes of Night Visions. A mental patient mustn't stop behaving in patterns. A maze on collage campus is actually a time portal. A town fears music. A court employee can hear thoughts of a killer.
Viewers may recall the Sci-Fi Channel series, SIGHTINGS which covered all manner of paranormal happenings around the world. Well, one case they investigated defied all explanations and brought comparisons to the most infamous US "Poltergeist" case, The Bell Witch of Tennessee. Like the Bell Witch, The Heartland Ghost case, as it was dubbed, consisted of all manner of phenomena but by far the most distressing were the multiple physical attacks directed toward the Dad in the house. He was scratched repeatedly and the cameras even managed to capture these attacks on film. Well, it was probably inevitable that there would be a movie about this someday and this attempt to cover the events is about as good as you can expect.
The film covers the basic story of the young couple with a child who buy the Victorian house as a fixer-upper and encounter cold spots, flying objects, slamming doors, electrical weirdness and so on. The film contrasts the basic skepticism of the dad and the SIGHTINGS Producers with the convictions of a Ghost Hunter played by Miguel Ferrer. As a dramatic device, we are treated to flashbacks of the various possible ghosts lives and dream sequences. These interludes are not so fantastic as to be annoying and they move the story along. In the real case, the names of the alleged ghosts and their background were uncovered through research.
Overall, this is an above average TV Movie about a disturbing apparent Haunting or Poltergeist. Unlike the silliness of TV Movies based on the exploits of the self-styled Demon-Hunters, Ed and Lorraine Warren, this movie simply lets the story unfold with a minimum of preaching. There isn't any sanctimonoius bible-waving or Holy water sprinkling and the SIGHTINGS crew and their Psychics are not portrayed as the afflicted family's saviors. In the Warrens' films, they are always shown to be the equivilant of Father Merrin in demon-infested homes of surburbia!
THE HEARTLAND GHOST is a straightforward retelling of the events in a sleepy Kansas community that which drew in a fairly serious investigation by a Television show dedicated to just such happenings. The Case was rarity for SIGHTINGS since they were there as the events unfolded as opposed to merely retelling the story afterwards which was what they usually did on their show. The SIGHTINGS teams camped out at the house with all manner of equipment and came away with more questions than answers. As a film, the story works but it doesn't come down on one side or the other. It does show the terrible toll the events took on the life of the young family whose whole world was turned upside down.
For viewers who saw the original SIGHTINGS Episodes on The Heartland Ghost, this film is a nice overview. For those that didn't, it's a decent introduction to the case.
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