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A Haunting in Salem
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Reviews & Ratings for
A Haunting in Salem (V) More at IMDbPro »

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23 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

The horror? Where was it?

Author: Paul Magne Haakonsen from Denmark
25 October 2011

Based on the image on the DVD cover, I was looking forward to this movie, because it really did look interesting on the cover. Just goes to prove, don't just a movie by it's cover, eh? And also that it were to take place in legendary Salem.

While watching it, it because painstakingly clear that this movie was not really all that great. The story was good enough, though there really wasn't anything new to be seen here. Nothing to revolutionize the horror genre. So don't expect to be surprised and be sitting in awe.

The one thing that this movie had going on for it, was the atmosphere. The house itself was really nicely done, lots of really great details here, and they had managed to carve out a really greet feel to the house and its surrounding. Old houses are genuinely creepy.

As for the cast, well I didn't recognize a single one here. And in itself that was good enough, because I enjoy watching a movie with new faces in it. However, the bad thing was that there were no really overly convincing performances here. It was as it almost all people were in this movie half-heartedly. The most memorable, though, were the two teenagers; Jenna Stone and Nicholas Harsin.

My low rating of this movie is because it just wasn't scary. The movie trotted on at a really slow pace, despite things happening, what happened wasn't scary. It was a dread to look at sometimes, because I wished more scary stuff would happen. There was only a single time in the entire movie that I got spooked, and without saying too much, then it was the scene where the sheriff was laying down on the bed to go to sleep.

And one thing did puzzle me. What was the thing with the sheriffs and having to douse everything in gasoline to torch it all down when they found their families dead? I am pretty sure that kind of behavior is not what people do, much less trained police men, in such situations. That was just downright ridiculous.

If you like horror movies, then "A Haunting in Salem" is not really a great choice, because you will be sorely disappointed.

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30 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Over all!

Author: dkhyden2010 from United States
22 October 2011

I really honestly don't know what to say. Do I start with the special effects? Or do I go on with the whole written story. Both were terrible, as well as choosing the sheriff who completely resembles DOBY from Harry Potter. I found this to be more of a comedy than horror! I am not saying looks are everything but I believe in casting people that are somewhat attractive on screen, sorry to say DOBY was not. I will say the previews were great, which of course got me to watch. Good editing on that part. I can say that the house was beautiful. The only other problem i have is that the movie cover on this site resembles nothing about what this movie is really like. I hope to see a better horror next time.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Witch spirits just hang around to get their revenge.

Author: tyler-and-jack from Edinburgh.
29 January 2012

First of all, let me say that this is a big step up from the worst of the movies released by The Asylum. That's perhaps damning the thing with faint praise so let me also say that this is a perfectly adequate, moderately enjoyable, haunted house tale.

A sheriff (Bill Oberst Jr.) and his family move into their new home and start to find out that things aren't quite what they seem. A load of witches were killed on the site and the bodies may not have been moved. Which leaves quite a few angry spirits.

I've read a number of other reviews of this movie and a couple of things popped up again and again.

One, the movie isn't filmed in Salem. As a UK resident, I don't know the difference between all the states in America (pardon my ignorance) but, apparently, the presence of an orange tree in the back yard of the house shows that it could not possibly be set in Salem. Oh well, if I can watch Dogville and believe that it's set in a small community despite it taking place on a stage with chalk outlines then I can believe that a film is set in Salem despite one or two pesky orange trees dotted about.

Two, the quality of the acting and the appearance of the lead actor. The acting is certainly varied but, again, I'd have to say that it's still way above the standard output from The Asylum and works just fine. I also think it's unfair to see so many reviews criticising the appearance of Bill Oberst Jr. (who has some facial scarring as the result of a childhood accident) because, let's face it, he wasn't playing a Calvin Klein model so it doesn't really matter how he looks.

The scares are mostly just cheap, jump scares but they're very well executed (helped by some decent makeup) and there are also some moments of genuine spookiness, helped by the general atmosphere of the featured house.

H. Perry Horton's screenplay may not be up to much but it keeps everyone in their designated place and ensures that nobody ever feels immune to the ongoing spookiness.

Director Shane Van Dyke handles everything competently and shows much more potential here than he did with the below-average Titanic II. If he keeps improving then he may just find himself without a job at The Asylum.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Television style film, but still fun.

Author: trnjamesbond ( from Canada
28 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay, okay, I know my rating is a little high. But you can't view this film if you are wanting to see great creepy scenes with lots of ghosting going on. This film just reminds me of an old fashion Stephen King mini-series like I use to watch back in the day.(Before HDTV satellite got so popular, and even those films were not that great, looking back on them now) The acting in this film is pretty solid, but still, it's kind of fun to watch the story unfold. Like I said I'd say it's maybe ABC television quality, but it still has some merit as a good little watch.

If your looking to see a massive budgeted horror/spook flick your in the wrong place. It's just a film that you would want to watch if nothing is on television.

The acting in this film is almost too good for the simple story line, and I think that's what ruins it a little. These actors and actresses need to be in a bigger budget film. But all in all it's a simple story with 1990's low budget television horror quality.

I think some of the very few "Ghost Faces" were well done, especially when the "New" Sheriff roles into bed with his wife and turns off the lamp and then turns back towards his wife to only see a disgusting rotting slimy corpse next to him.

The only downfall is that I kept getting the daughter and the mother mixed up, they both look the same age. That's my main complaint. Also the son is kind of a bad actor.(Not that I could do better) But they could of picked a teenage male with a little more talent. He just seemed to be a little too fake for me.

In turn, I'd say this film should be viewed in the mindset of not taking it too seriously, and just letting it role. No it's not a giant budget film, and the quality is not the best.(TV movie grade) But it still is worth a watch. I gave it a 6 out of 10 because of it's basic story line. It's simple and to the point if your in the mood for a no- brainer.

Thanks for reading

Jeffrey J Turner Sarnia Ontario Canada

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Haunted by mediocrity

Author: robertbnewman78 from Ireland
6 December 2011

Sheriff Wayne Downs(Bill Oberst Jr.) wears his pants pretty high,unfortunately though,not high enough to hide his dreadful acting.He has potential as a villain but his casting as a leading man in this story was idiotic especially as his wife(Courtney Abbiati)was unbelievably hot. Although she was some welcome eye candy,Abbiati was more wooden than the surrounding structure and provided some strange inappropriate smiles at the wrong times as though she was reading the words but failing to put them into the context of the film. To say the shocks were hackneyed would be putting it mildly,(how many times can an image in a mirror reflection be used?)the directing was unimaginative and seemed to be read from a DIY horror manual. Ironically the star of the show was the inanimate object,the house,although the two teenagers(Jenna Stone and Nicholas Harsin)did their best,Stone was pretty good in fact. The most damning indictment of this film is the fact that the house and the grounds were the most fertile spawning ground for horror imaginable. Every sprawling beam and arched design screamed of southern Gothic and hidden secrets. This proves to be of detriment to the film as the lightweight acting seems to melt into the glorious background creating an oddly vacuous feeling. More atmosphere in space.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

pretty good movie actually

Author: mapaxn from United States
8 October 2013

The Asylum's reputation proceeds itself, and for good reason; but this movie is a pleasant surprise. The acting is good; the mood, music, and setting is good. The plot is a little fast, IMO, but it still presents itself as a fair psychological thriller.

I have no idea why people are trashing on this movie. Yes, the Asylum comes out with some horrible movies but this is NOT one of them. This movie has far more class than most of the other ones.

I am a fan of Paranormal Entity, so it didn't surprise me that Shane Van Dyke directed this one too. I don't know why the Asylum doesn't allow him to direct all their movies. They'd be a respectable B-lister movie company if they did.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Horrible film

Author: frompkin from United States
28 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a terrible film. One, it's not actually filmed in Salem (a minor quibble, but you'd think they'd hide the orange trees in the yard). Two, it's not scary. Third, and finally, the production values were horrible. For example: the sheriff is digging in the yard and it's daylight, while the mother comforts the daughter at the same time and the windows are completely dark (as in, it's night time). Additionally, why kill the historian? She shows up twice; once to hand out a "welcome packet" to the family, and when she returns, boils her face in water and then the body disappears. Why?? She must have been dating someone or just needed the screen time to get credit or something. The actors did a decent enough job with the material, but the editing was bad, the script was bad.. I wouldn't even recommend this for "bad movie night".

In the end, the film comes off as a college project, not a sequel to the "A Haunting in.." series. The concept was good, but I can definitely see why this film went straight to video. It was pretty much craptastic. Better luck to all the actors in their future endeavors, and hopefully they can stay away from this kind of drek in the future. I guess everyone has to start out somewhere.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Super boring and annoying as hell.

Author: Jan Strydom from South Africa
12 April 2012

Basically what you have in A HAUNTING IN SALEM is one very boring movie, the plot consist of a new sheriff moving into a new house with his family located in the little town Salem, where strange things start to happen and soon the sheriff realizes their new home is haunted by vengeful spirit.

If I give more of a synopsis I would spoil the film but this thing is so unoriginal and predictable its not even funny and what's worse, the pacing is so slow I thought the pause button on my DVD player was stuck, the acting however was painfully bad, the guy in the lead role was totally missed cast, even though I have seen a few ugly guys with hot wives and great looking kids so its not unusual but this guy just didn't look right for the part and you can tell he's not very comfortable in the lead role and the rest of the cast are just annoying, plainly put.

Of course this film is directed by Shane Van Dyke who also did TITANIC 2 and this is only what I heard, this guy doesn't give a crap about the casting or the acting, he just slams a film together and isn't too concerned with how it turns out, which could be true since the absolute worst films from Asylum are directed by him and they also include PARANORMAL ENTITY(a rip off of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and an early 80's horror film called THE ENTITY) and a western called 6 GUNS if that's the correct title.

All in all, I recommend you pass on this one it'll just put you to sleep or annoy the hell out of you.

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The Amityville Shining.....

Author: FlashCallahan from Leicester, United Kingdom
14 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Downs family move to Salem so that Wayne can start his new job as the town Sheriff.

They move in to an old house that has a macabre history, witches were hanged there in the 1600's.

There's an urban legend that a family were killed in the same house years earlier.

After a while the Downs family discover that there's more to the legend and to the house than the towns people are letting on..

So it's half Amityville, and half the Shining, it's nowhere as good as either of those movies, but also it's nowhere as near as bad as what the critics are saying.

It's rarely scary, and the film does consist of the lead actor (who looks like a bargain Viggo Mortensen) running around the house trying to get away from all the bad acting and the constant vomiting of his daughter.

Obviously she is ill so weird thins happen to her, and then she becomes evil, but it will look like the Sheriff will get the blame, because all the sheriffs who live in that house turn evil.

Maybe the Mayor (who looks like a bargain basement Jeffrey Wright) should have changed the locale.

So all in all, it's not scary, baseball bat sounds are out of synch, and the village idiot has a stutter.

I've seen worse, not many though.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One very dull haunting

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
8 September 2013

In regard to Shane Van Dyke's other Asylum projects, A Haunting in Salem is not as wretched as Titanic II(his best is 6 Guns, which still was mediocre at best). A Haunting in Salem is still very poor however, and shows that generally Van Dyke is far from a good director. His direction has a very slapping things together sort of quality and with no subtlety or skill, in short amateurish. But there are other things outside of Van Dyke's directing that makes A Haunting in Salem as bad as it is. It does look as though it was made in a rush, with slapdash special effects and make-up that is even less convincing than badly done children's face paintings. The dialogue doesn't have sense of life, flow or sense, and the actors certainly seemed to think so because apart from Jenna Stone(the only halfway decent thing about the entire movie) they give incredibly half-hearted performances. Bill Oberst Jnr doesn't deserve the unfair personal comments he's gotten but as an actor here he shows little charisma or passion. The story was especially bad here, that it's slow-moving wouldn't have been a problem if the scares were interesting and the storytelling compelling enough. But because the scares are so predictable and the story so lacking in tension, horror, suspense, thrills or fun the pacing just felt interminably dull, so it was difficult to maintain interest. All in all, a real bore and a poorly done movie all round excepting Stone. 1/10 Bethany Cox

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