Studio: Screen Media Darkside
Director: Michael Oblowitz
Writer: Michael Oblowitz, Caroline Doreen Victoria Riley, Theodore Gildred III
Producer: Michael Oblowitz, Salome Breziner, Hani Selim
Stars: Taylor Cole, Ryan Donowho, Toby Hemingway, Rumer Willis, Laura Wiggins, Billy Zane, Holt McCallany, Dominic Purcell
Four college students uncover a murderous connection to their pasts when they perform an experiment in ESP and telepathy.
A ganzfeld experiment is a technique that uses sensory deprivation to test participants for ESP or telepathic abilities. “The Ganzfeld Haunting” is a movie that uses sensory deprivation to test if a viewer’s eyes, ears, and brain can still function after being repeatedly dulled for 82 minutes.
The visual attack is led by pointless camera shots of arbitrary things like water dripping off a soap dish or unmotivated focus racks between a girl’s face and droplets on a shower door. The aural assault comes by way of nonsensical babbling from ghostly narration or impossibly annoying dialogue where every poorly written sentence is padded with a half-dozen f-bombs.
Four college students assemble in an abandoned house that is supposed to be creepy because random swaths of wallpaper are torn into dangling strips and innumerable holes are punched into every wall. For a class project, their plan is some ridiculousness about wearing noise-cancelling headphones and goofy goggles to see if thinking really hard can psychically transmit images into another person’s mind. Or whatever qualifies as a mind for these brainless borefests. Mentioning anything more about the plot would be useless since the script cares less than anyone about it. “The Ganzfeld Haunting” is so interested in showing nostrils hoovering up cocaine like it is backstage at Lollapalooza that anything remotely approaching actual character development is sucked into the same drug-induced haze of senselessness.
A short ways into “The Ganzfeld Haunting,” I planned on taking a screenshot of every time someone snorted a line of coke to illustrate how ridiculously excessive the instances are. Before the movie had a chance to reach its midpoint, I realized that doing so would take countless hours, and enough time was already wasted by an empty experience. Had I gone through with the idea, I would have ended up with enough still images to recreate virtually the entire film in flipbook form.
Incredibly, three names are credited for drafting the screenplay. It is a hysterical notion that any one writer needed two more people to collaborate on the creation of scenes summarized by the simple description, “Generic Character A sticks a rolled bill in his/her nose and inhales a mound of blow… again.”
Softcore scenes of Rumer Willis and Taylor Cole tease a lesbian romance for no purpose other than excusing a purely panty-clad back half of the runtime in hopes that male viewers might dislike the movie less. Sadly, this shameless sex appeal is the only tolerable distraction in an otherwise unnoticeable mess of a movie. Now a turned-on audience can feel as embarrassed as the actors about being fooled into “The Ganzfeld Haunting.”
More interesting than the movie’s fictional story is whatever behind-the-scenes blackmail took place to pool Willis, Cole, Billy Zane, Dominic Purcell, and other recognizable names into a project that is guaranteed to remain unlisted on the back of everyone’s headshot. Flashes of static-filled imagery with no meaningful context constitute the movie’s idea of how to convey horror. Blood-dripping faucets and randomly slamming doors pass for shallow scares. Irredeemable as art and as entertainment, “The Ganzfeld Haunting” is an insultingly disastrous way to spend an hour and a half, and a dangerous way to dumb down one’s own senses.
Review Score: 25