‘The Haunting of Sharon Tate’ is exploitative garbage

by Kate Walz on April 4, 2019

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Rating: Rock Fist Way Down]

The Manson Family, Charles Manson, Helter Skelter, Sharon Tate – there’s a cultural fascination there. The brutality, the senselessness, the random horrible luck of the victims, have all made the situation a warning – sometimes, there’s nothing that can be done to protect yourself.

The Haunting of Sharon Tate, out in theaters (locally at Screenland Crossroads) and on demand tomorrow, is a disrespectful mess of a movie, starring a horribly miscast Hilary Duff and random sorta-celebs Jonathan Bennett and Lydia Hurst. Daniel Farrands (The Amityville Murders) wrote and directed, and he seems to be trying to create a genre of reimagining true crime into horror. His next project is The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson.

And if The Haunting of Sharon Tate is any indicator of the care, respect and thoughtfulness he will give these very real victims and their very real still living families, we’re in trouble.

Claiming to be inspired by a true story, the movie is actually inspired by a single uncorroborated quote Sharon Tate supposedly gave to a gossip columnist a year before her death. Beyond this one guy saying she had dreamt her murder (with accurate details), there’s absolutely no evidence. If you have it, please send it in – I couldn’t find it anywhere.

The movie takes off from there – if Sharon Tate had dreamt of her own death, would she have been able to prevent it? Well, no. And, it probably would have been a super boring movie – “Oh, I dreamt I’d die in this house. I’m going to get a hotel.” Manson family arrives at empty house, goes home. Roll credits. Because the thing about these murders was that it wasn’t personal – it was the address.

Instead what Farrands constructs is the weirdest, most boring retelling of this tale – and with a whiff of victim blaming and absolutely no interest in historical accuracy (beyond body placement). Duff makes one of three faces for two hours (you’ll see them in the pics here) and waivers through a series of vague accents while she is stalked by the members of the Manson Family. (Or is she? Who cares – because it never happened!)

My favorite scene (in that I laughed the hardest) involved Duff (I don’t want to disrespect the dead by calling her Sharon, because this movie is disrespectful enough) finding Charles Manson’s musical recordings and being told to play them backward by some random dude and getting the bejeezus scared out of her. My eyes rolled so hard they nearly got stuck.

It’s an unholy mess of a movie. Sharon Tate and her friends deserved better in life, and they certainly don’t deserve to be remembered like this. And poor Nicole Brown Simpson is next.

Kate Walz

Kate is a content-consuming pop-culture nerd. Her top 5 movies are: The Philadelphia Story, The Master, The Fountain, What About Bob and The Departed.

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