The Haunting of #24 (Lie Still) (2005)

Director and Writer Sean Hogan’s “The Haunting of #24” is a film with a lot of potential that is never quite realized in to much of a film with any kind of substance or surprise. Director Hogan sets up so many plot devices, characters, and suspense that can be flourished into a horrifying ghost film. Alas, “The Haunting of #24” is just mediocre as all get out, and squanders most opportunities to rise to the occasion and spook us. It’s not a horrible movie, it’s just so utterly boring to sit through from beginning to end.

Following a tough split with his girlfriend, Veronica (Nina Sosanya), the down-on-his-luck John (Stuart Laing) decides to take a cheap room in a creaky old boarding house. Almost immediately after moving in, John is plagued by disturbing nightmares and frightened by otherworldly noises. After nights of insomnia, he resorts to phoning Veronica for help. When she takes pity on her ex-boyfriend and sleeps over at the ominous house with him, things take a supernaturally horrifying turn.

When an utterly recycled romance drama, our character Martin is reduced to being haunted by the typical ghost movie clichés we’ve seen a thousand times over. “Throw your TV out!” an old neighbor warns him anxiously, and we’re forced to endure devices like the giggling little girl with the bouncing ball asking him to play with her, strobing lights outside his doorway, rattling door knobs, nightmares of a shadowy grave digger coming out of one of his framed pictures, and… people looking at him through his television quite often. Hogan knows how to set tension he just doesn’t know how to set the pace to keep “The Haunting of #24” unnerving.

We’re constantly tugged back and forth between Martin’s romance with his girlfriend Veronica, the studies of his mental past, and then finally get to the ghost story. Hogan can never seem to decide what kind of horror story he wants to tell, we learn the origin of this house he lives in thanks to this neighbor conveniently aware of what is happening all around him. What are the ghosts really intending to do? Why attempt to make us think Martin is just losing his mind? It’s an empty pursuit. In the end, “The Haunting of #24” is a milquetoast supernatural thriller that attempts to touch all bases in terms of themes and concepts, but in the end it’s pretty much just your average B grade ghost movie that’s easily forgotten.