New To Blu: The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019) - Reviewed

What still remains one of the most brutal murders in American history is brought home to blu-ray in the new horror film, The Haunting of Sharon Tate. As complete revisionist history, it doesn't work. It's actually quite unforgivable. In the realm of unabashed terror, it does succeed when it completely loosens any and all grip on reality, moving down the rabbit hole into freaky slasher territory. 

Director Daniel Farrands spins the brutal true story of Tate's death into a nearly surreal genre film that takes off strong but doesn't stick the landing. While building up some basic character development and background for all those involved, it seems like the movie may turn out great, but the last act is so trivial and out of left field that the tasteless factor starts to figure in to the final product. 

From the onset of the marketing campaign, many questioned the relevance or morality behind using Tate's untimely death as a backdrop for horror. Unfortunately, as much as we wanted to dismiss all advanced preconceptions, the The Haunting of Sharon Tate does take too many liberties as a complete work of fiction. And honestly, as great a guy as Farrands is, viewers will walk away feeling dirty. This has an icky grindhouse feel that won't wash off easily. 

Told through the eyes of the beautiful actress (played by Hilary Duff), the film is a fictionalized tale of that dreaded night when multiple young lives were taken by some of Charles Manson's followers. Based on Tate's own premonition that something bad was going to happen, this lower budget feature starts off strong but begins to taper off towards the final chapter. Through numerous glaring flaws and a story that definitely uses an exploitation based cinema style, this effort could have been a solid movie if it didn't brandish the Tate and Polanski names. While most audiences will be drawn to it by the well known topic, especially with a new Tarantino movie coming out that looks at the same time period, it might have been better to abandon the namesake at hand and just make something that was simply influenced by the murders.

Despite all the negative shade that I'm throwing at this thing, one face is abundantly clear. Duff is ready to tackle the world. Between her talent for creating a believable version of Tate and some really cool looking cinematography that captures the era through a colorful lens, there are still some strong points to The Haunting of Sharon Tate. Duff really deserves much recognition for shying away from her formative years as a teen actress by becoming the lead player in a brutal horror film. And yes, the kills here are disturbing, making the movie all the more hard to watch. 

So, if you're looking to check out something completely different, I'd say go into this one with the blinders fully off. It's not great by any means. But there are some moments that shine. Just know that the conclusion is one of the worst and most unforgivable things we've seen in 2019. Something is just not right about using the death of a pregnant woman as the center for a supernatural twist on the Manson murders. With all the bad I've just written about this movie, I will admit that the use of color and saturation is about picture perfect for a movie that's set in the drug fueled world of Hollywood circa 1969. 

-Chris George