The Poltergeist of Borley Forest DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Image Entertainment
Directed by Stephen McKendree
Written by R. Presley Stephens and Kimberly Britt
2013, Region 1 (NTSC), 103 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on June 2nd, 2014
Marina Petrano as Paige Pritchard
Chris ingle as Tommy Pritchard
Rhea Rossiter as Brenda Pritchard
Weston Adwell as Ava Griffin
Nicholas Barrera as Cooper
Jason Beck as Dr. Hidalgo
Rebecca Barrow Hall as Jenna Daniels
Cortland Woodard as Mr. Hendricks
Chris Cook as Glenn Pritchard
Lisa Shorts as Susan Pritchard
With the recent hype and release of the Poltergiest remake, it was inevitable that "poltergeist" driven films would be hitting the shelves demanding your attention. Films like The Poltergeist of Borley Forest would be such a movie, albeit in title only. Originally called You Will Love Me (which makes much more sense) when, according to IMDB, it had its premiere at a film festival in 2013, it must have sat without a distributor for two years because it's finally getting a release on June 2nd with its new title. What a coincidence.
However, no matter what you call the movie, at the end of the day it's just horrible. The film follows a young girl, Paige (Marina Petrano), who stumbles upon a tree with a noose hanging from it while looking for some friends to give her a ride home from a party in the woods. Apparently that tree is haunted or something because after discovering it, something starts haunting HER! Hahaha, just kidding. I think that might have been the original idea, but nothing really happens for the first 40 minutes of this way-too-long movie.
The Poltergeist of Borley Forest has a lot wrong with it, but its main problem is it has no business being 102 minutes. You could easily skip the first 30 minutes and not miss anything of importance. I would say the movie should be 80 minutes tops, but even that's too much. I could easily cut this down to 7 - 10 minutes and throw it in an anthology. There's so little that's compelling about it.
For the first hour, the film meanders along, doing I'm not exactly sure what. In between small scenes of the "poltergeist" haunting Paige, there's a ridiculous amount of filler. I suspect that director Stephen McKendree was attempting some semblance of character development during this time, but it's a wasted effort. While you're waiting for something, anything supernatural to happen, you're stuck wading through tedious scenes not limited to Paige and Cooper (Nicholas Barrera), her potential love interest. Which wouldn't be so bad if the two had any synergy at all, but there is no connection there, so it's just awkward. That's not to say Petrano and Barrera are bad actors; both have talent in them somewhere, they just need a better director to pull it out of them. There's also some scenes with Paige and her brother and her family... but none of it really matters.
Just when you are about to give up because you really have no idea what the point of The Poltergeist of Borley Forest is, if it even has one, at about an hour in there is an exposition drop in the form of one of the locals. If that isn't enough for you, the local who fills Paige in on almost everything directs her to a house in which our heroine finds a diary. That leads us to the inevitable reading-of-the-diary scene where, you got it, we're spoon fed even more exposition. I'm not going to get into it because, again, none of it really matters other than there is nothing organic in this movie. And the attempt at a "twist" ending? Pathetic.
I could easily go on, but like The Poltergeist of Borley Forest, it's pointless. This movie is a perfect example on why I wish it wasn't so easy for the average person to make a movie. Some people should stay away from the camera just like you should stay away from this film.
Video and Audio:
The 1.78:1 anamorphic presentation is what you'd expect from a true low-budget film. Blacks are more of a dark gray and the overall quality is like an up-scaled VHS.
Audio is all over the place from "that sounds almost normal" to "are they talking in a tunnel?" and " I'm pretty sure she delivered that line over a CB." This is no doubt from the equipment used doing filming.
Closed Captions are available for those in need.
- The Manifestation of the Poltergeist: Behind the Scenes
- Deleted Scenes
- Outakes from Borley Forest
With a running time of just under 22 minutes, The Manifestation of the Poltergeist: Behind the Scenes is arguably better than the film itself. Sure it has the typical "This idea was great, I was glad to be part of it!" interviews throughout; there are actually interesting parts within the piece. It certainly held my attention more than the actual movie.
There are about 15 minutes worth of deleted scenes and if I'm completely honest here, I didn't want watch any of them. Considering the sheer amount of fat still in the movie, there's only so much I can take.
Rounding it out are 5 minutes worth of outtakes. Most of them center on the star Petrano as she acts like a goof, but as with most outtakes, these are probably more enjoyable to the cast and crew than those that had nothing to do with the film.