Review: Muirhouse / Cert: 15 / Director: Tanzeal Rahim / Screenplay: Tanzeal Rahim / Starring: Iain P. F. McDonald, Kate Henderson, Steve Lynch, Libby Ashby / Release Date: February 10th
The opening titles reveal that in 2007, Phillip Muirhouse was left alone in a historic house called Monte Cristo. He was there making a documentary that was to accompany his latest book. By the end of this, you’lll really wish he hadn’t bothered.
An author and ghost hunter, Muirhouse is waiting for the rest of his crew to arrive in the old Australian homestead where the Crawley family once died in horrible circumstances. He spends most of his time walking around the beautiful and creepily designed old house delivering vaguely spooky exposition about what formerly occurred here. Things predictably start to go bump in the night, breathing gets heavier, harder and faster and the camera work goes right out the window.
Muirhouse features all the usual found footage attempts to signify that what we are seeing is real; recordings from a radio phone in, interviewees directly addressing the camera and snap shots that suggest but never actually confirm a spooky presence. Despite its claim that ‘the following is actual video evidence of the events’, the acting is never convincing enough to deceive.
Even at 75 minutes, it's fatally over-stretched. With Muirhouse all on his own in the house, he gets little to do except wander around and film as the lights go off, the furniture moves and he repeatedly shouts ‘who’s there?’ at the strange sounds he hears.
The backstory of the mysterious house is woefully underdeveloped, the central character barely registers and while it’s always a little scary, seeing nothing but the torch lit point of view of a terrified person in a haunted house, it is never enough to fill a film... even a 75 minute one. Australia did the mock-doc format better with Lake Mungo. That’s some footage you might want to find instead.
Extras: The Spirit Level – A Look at the Monte Cristo Homestead / Theatrical Trailer / TV Spots