The Haunting of Sharon Tate exploitatively genericises a gruesome tragedy for an abysmally immoral horror. Nope. This review is finished. Not sure where to go from here in all honesty. There are bad horrors that exist in the planes of our reality. And then there are tasteless abominations that exploit a tragic event to conjure some cheap jump scares and woeful performances. Farrands’ feature may just be the pinnacle of the latter category. The Manson Family murders of Tate and four other individuals have been thoroughly documented in film and TV, highlighting the tragic sensitivity of such a subject matter.
This horror based on the events of ‘69, merged fictional strands of premonitions and foreboding foreshadowing to offer a proposed existential reality that had Tate question her “fateful path with destiny”. So not only were the gruesome murder re-enacted, with inconsequential jump scares, visualised blood and howling screams embedded for good measure, but Farrands’ screenplay boasts the audacity to sensationalise the event and propose the concept that Tate succumbed to her premonitions as it was “her destiny”. Nope! Nope nope nope! Someone hold my carton of zero sugar apple juice, need to get this off my chest!
Never mind the commencement of the film with an ostentatious quote from Allen Poe that seeks to outline the “dream within a dream” concept, and forget about the interweaving of archival footage of Tate herself (which has now tainted her filmography). The sheer insensitive approach and exploitative nature of the whole ordeal forces you to question the entire purpose of this horror. Yet fundamentally shroud its atrociousness with a lack of purpose. Why? Why did these grisly murders need to be replicated, fictionalised to a degree and seemingly hopeful? Is it rhetorical? An opportunistic window if Tate and her peers were actually able to overcome their murderers?
The characters are naturally subconsciously distant from the viewers given everybody’s knowledge of their tragic fates, therefore relinquishing all sense of fear. Granting Tate visions of her imminent death is an absolutely pointless gimmick that, again, relinquishes the impact of the inevitable murder. It just…it just…urgh. It doesn’t matter. It seriously doesn’t matter! Every scene leaves a horrible taste in one’s mouth. As if licking the super salty sweat off of Lizzie McGuire’s forehead. And speaking of dreadful characters, Hilary Duff portrays the titular victim. Duff is up the duff and (forgive me) her performance is guff. Not only does she not resemble Tate, but has the acting capabilities of a prosthetic baby bump. Who knows what that means!
Supporting cast members were weak. The script was beyond salvageable. Farrands’ direction non-sensical. And, last but not least, that “surprise” ending forced me to face-palm my forehead so hard, it is now bruised. How. Frickin’. Stupid. So thanks Farrands. Thanks for exploiting a brutal murder and sensationalising it into a tasteless, insensitive and immoral disposable horror. Thanks for nearly inducing me into an early sleep. And thanks for bruising my face. Burn this film. Immediately.