Film Monthly Home
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
The Haunting of Rebecca Verlaine
Directed by Olaf Ittenbach
Written by Thomas Reitmair, Olaf Ittenbach
Starring Natacza S. Boon, James Matthews-Pyecka, Daryl Jackson, Beli B. Felsenheimer
Produced by Yazid Benfeghoul, Ricky Goldberg, Leo Helfer
You know that guy? That guy who has all kinds of funny jokes and great stories and really knows how to be the center of a party but sometimes gets carried away? Yeah, that guy! That guy you wish you could get to quit drinking after three tequilas because before that he’s unbelievable.
Well, if that guy were a DVD, he’d be The Haunting of Rebecca Verlaine. Hands down.
The plot is fairly simple—the Verlaine Commune is suddenly wiped out by a couple guys in clown masks one Christmas night. Founded by a wealthy musician, the Commune now has but one survivor of that horrible Christmas: Verlaine’s young daughter Rebecca. After coming out of a coma, Rebecca grows up and sets out to live her own life, having forgotten the night on the Verlaine Commune. At least, until her dad starts appearing on television. And only she can see him. Now, she’s got to find out who the guys in clown suits were and get them back to the Verlaine Commune, where the recently dead commies can exact horrific and blood-soaked vengeance.
In fact, a lot of this movie will be blood-soaked. Normally, special effects in low-budget films like this really don’t have a lot of punch, but man, did the Verlaine crew ever know where to pick it up! The Haunting of Rebecca Verlaine, as a result, is horrifically graphic, but also, believable. I can believe that, when a chick gets an axe through her forehead, it looks a lot like how The Haunting of Rebecca Verlaine showed it. I can believe that those things Rebecca keeps seeing are horribly murdered ghosts. I believe this movie, and that’s a long step. Rebecca’s hallucinations are constantly and consistently freaky, and the opening dual-nightmare sequence is a tiny packet of joy bursting onto my TV screen.
But there are problems. Make no mistake. The Haunting of Rebecca Verlaine depends so heavily on jump scares that if you’ve got no adrenal gland at all this movie will bore you to death. And the gore effects that really look like gore? They have a tendency to get wildly out of control. Like wildly. Like splatter on the camera lens wildly. And then they start tearing arms and shoving fists through people and a couple cops get torn apart for no clear or good reason and then there’s the power drill and—!
You see what I mean. You just want to start screaming at the TV, okay, okay! Dial it down a notch, huh? There’s a limit, and you people aren’t just crossing the line, you are crashing through it like extras from the fucking Dukes of Hazzard!
I can see The Haunting of Rebecca Verlaine shrieking “Yeeeeee-haaaaa!” as it takes a bright orange car with a Dixie flag on its roof off a sweet jump while an ineffectual cop mumbles and screams unintelligibly in the background about how he’s “gonna git dem Verlaine boys!”
The ending, meanwhile, is jam-packed with multiple twists, including an absolutely priceless twist at the end. Plus, lots more action and blood-soaked carnage. Lots and lots of carnage.
The special features include audio options, Spanish subtitles, and trailers fro The Chambermaid, Live Feed, Experiment and Magus.
All in all, The Haunting of Rebecca Verlaine is a blood-drenched over-the-top gorefest that depends on a half-decent storyline and lots and lots of blood. It should be a fun rental for virtually any horror buff.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
Got a problem? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org