The Horror Honeys: Stay Clear of the Moors, and the Attic, and the Kitchen…

Stay Clear of the Moors, and the Attic, and the Kitchen…

A Supernatural Honey Review by Suzanne

Altar (2015)

A struggling artist, Alec Hamilton, moves his family to the English countryside so his wife, Meg, can restore a crumbling estate to its original grandeur. Once moved in, they discover the home has a violent and sinister past.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. A haunted house, where the spirits attempt to possess its occupants, has been done more times than I can count and I can count pretty high. Altar brings nothing new to the table and the story is a bit of a jumbled mess. When I first watched it I thought, “Eh, not horrible,” but as it digested, it didn’t sit very well.

Just released in the States last week, I discovered this movie was released in the UK in 2014 on TV. That has to tell you something and had I known this, I might have just passed on it. Also, can we stop picking on the British? Sure, the UK has a rich history and a fabulous landscape for this type of film, but if you’re going to make it work, you need a great story, not just great accents.

The storyline is pretty generic, but then the writers went and tried to make it “interesting” and, instead, made it a jumbled mess. The backstory of the house is never fully fleshed out. It’s a temple, it’s an altar, the guy who built it murdered his wife, but he didn’t, there are sealed off rooms, but they serve no purpose, well, one did, but even that wasn’t really explained. I don’t know what the fuck happened. It’s as if the writers stole bits and pieces from other films, but then did nothing to make it cohesive.

Olivia Williams and Matthew Modine (who is apparently still acting) did an admirable job with the script they had to work with. They had very little chemistry, so I guess it’s a good thing they were playing a couple with intimacy issues, as well as a gender power struggle.

Modine’s Alec almost immediately shows signs of change after cutting his hand. He becomes obsessed with the cut and intentionally makes it worse to incorporate the blood into his artwork, even during an intimate moment with Meg, which was oogy, and not in a good way. Blood massage from your creepy husband does not equal sexy.

The real star of the movie was Antonia Clarke. Clarke played the Hamilton’s teen daughter, Penny. Penny is the first to notice the strange happenings in the home and tries desperately to get Meg to believe her. She even goes so far as to hire a “ghost hunter” to investigate the home, much to Meg’s embarrassment. Penny essentially becomes the adult, taking care of her younger brother, Harper (Adam Thomas Wright), and trying to maintain sanity in a house where their father has become a shadow and their mother has become the bread winner.

I will say, for a movie that made very little sense, it looked great. The setting was creepy (sorry, Yorkshire) and there was a sad, gloomy vibe. Unfortunately, save a scene where Penny and her brother are on the moors being terrorized by spirits, there wasn’t anything scary or entertaining about the film.


Supernatural Honey Verdict: 2.5 possessed artists out of 5

Altar is available on Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, VOD, and DVD