The Haunting of #24 (Lie Still)

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British horror has really surprised me this year. “Severance” grabbed me by the balls and after a dozen or so really great UK horror flicks, they haven’t let go. Sean Hogan’s “The Haunting of #24” also refuses to give my cockney a break, continually making my sex life very difficult. Well, you know. That and my conjoined twin.

After a nasty breakup, John (Stuart Laing) moves into a small housing complex run by the jolly Martin Stone (Robert Blythe) where all of the tenants keep to themselves. The place seems fairly isolated, but perfect for someone who wants to run away from their problems, such as our protagonist. It’s by no means a welcoming place; though it’s furnished, it looks quite drab and the picture left by a previous tenant of a creepy man on a staircase doesn’t help. Almost immediately after he’s settled in, John starts having some creepy experiences; someone bangs on his door heavily, he receives a note telling him to leave immediately, and his neighbor, a crabby yet slutty old lady doesn’t make his stay any better. Soon he starts seeing things and is convinced something is up. Mr. Stone continually assures John that it’s just his imagination as he settles into a new building and his ex-girlfriend, who is doing her best not to add any more baggage to his problems, tries to reason with him as well. Once she realizes he’s losing sleep and starting to appear insane, she agrees to stay over with him so he can rest. But when she mysteriously vanishes, John is determined to escape from his new residence. That is, if the building will let him.

“The Haunting of #24” (or “Lie Still” as it’s called in the UK) works because it’s a taut psychological thriller with some subtle scares and great atmosphere. Utilizing the less-is-more approach, it throws in some creepy imagery such as the (aforementioned wall picture) continually changing and some eerie moments involving a television. At the same time, I actually found myself wondering if it was all going on in his head. I really had to ride this one out until the ending is revealed.

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Unfortunately for me, the ending left a decent bit to be resolved. I was fairly confused about a few things when it was over and felt that a little more explanation could have prevented it from ending a bit too open-ended. The resolution/twist is explained fairly thoroughly, but it still left a few things unanswered in my opinion. However, that shouldn’t dissuade you from checking out this movie. The acting, especially on the part of Laing is top notch. This guy plays his character with perfection. The less sleep he got and the more crazy he started to appear, the crazier and sluggish I felt by watching it, solely from his ability to play that role so vividly.

I mainly enjoyed this movie because it was a refreshing break from the gory torture films I’ve been watching lately. As I stated in my review for “1408,” ghost stories have been long overdue for a comeback and I’m thankful that some filmmakers are still interested in the sub-genre. Also, kudos to Sean Hogan who made this film, being that it is his first writing and directing credit. By creating high quality horror on a low budget, I can safely say that the future holds a lot in store for him.

So go on and give this movie a try. It’s guaranteed to give you a few chills and if anything, will make you think twice about signing that lease.

The Hidden Message: Live at home as long as you can. That’s what your parents are for, silly. (Hi, mom!)

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~ by exploitnation on March 10, 2008.

6 Responses to “The Haunting of #24 (Lie Still)”

  1. The british have really been on the up and and coming when it comes to horror films these last couple of years. “Severance” was a lot of fun, like you mentioned. However, I thought that director Christopher Smith´s debut feature “Creep” was even better. That one is a lost gem. “Wilderness” was pretty fun and gory, too. The other week I had the pleasure of seeing “The Cottage”, which I really, really recommend you guys. It´s a gory horror/comedy along the lines of “Shaun of the Dead”. It shows the same respect for the genre that “Shaun…” did, so if you haven´t seen it you´re in for a treat.
    I will definitely check out “The Haunting of #24”. I´ve missed that one and I´m always in the mood for a good ghost story. Thanks for the tip!

  2. i watched The Cottage last month. i really liked it. I also fucking LOVED “Creep”, which i have as well. However, i like Severance more because it’s just utterly perfect to me. It blends horror, comedy, gore, and touching as shit moments perfectly. i really need to post my review for that. it was one of the first i did for killer film.

  3. Bring on the review for “Severance”, for crying out loud! I´d love to read it. I still have to go with “Creep”. I love the premise of the film. Every horror film that has a scene in the subway is alright in my book. It reminded me so much of the Gary Sherman´s fantastic “Raw Meat” aka “Death Line”. That film, my friend, is a goddamn masterpiece! I don´t know how many times I´ve seen that one. Donald Pleasance rocks every kind of sock there is in that one. You also get a brief scene with Christopher Lee. What´s not like? I´d love to see you guys take a stab at it some day.

  4. ill definitely check out Raw Meat. It’s not Amicus-related is it? The line up sounds so and i love me some of that.

    -andrew.

  5. No, it´s not Amicus-related, but I don´t hink you´ll be disappointed if you like those movies. In fact, it´s directed by an american guy, Gary Sherman, who also did the fabolous “Dead & Buried” back in ´81. “Raw meat” was released in ´72, I think. It´s released on a no frills-DVD from Warner Bros., if I´m not mistaken.

  6. i’m about to check out Raw Meat in a few hours. It’s the MGM DVD release.

    regardless…bonnnerrrrrr!

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