Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2010 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 23rd, 2011
They are not alone.
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager) stars as a single mother with two daughters who's just purchased what she thinks is her dream home. It's roomy and large and way better than the dumpy apartment she's been cramming the kids into. There is, of course, one small drawback: it's haunted by a teenage girl. And worse, she appears out of this air right at the same time a loud sound cue happens!
As is always the case, the kids realize that something supernatural is going on, way before the adult does, and no one listens to their desperate pleading that yes, there is a scary ghost running around the house freaking everyone out. And though our heroine eventually buys into the kids' hype, it might be too late.
Really, this mom is a premium dope. Not only does she ignore her kids far too long, only believing their testimony after she herself has a close encounter, but she's shockingly oblivious to the significant personality change in her oldest daughter. Huh...Now what could be causing that?
Secrets in the Walls is a made-for-TV movie that's heavy on the jump scares and light on everything else. Jeri Ryan gives it a good go, wailing and emoting as a concerned mom who's got a ghost all up in her family business. She sells it well enough, but I was just having a hard time caring.
No one wants to see kids menaced by a specter or anything, but it's hard to get amped up when that ghostly nemesis is so boring. The girl is given a back story so we know what her problem is, but she never does anything interesting or scary. When her music box is played, she shows up and grimaces. Then she goes away. The girls run and tell their mom what they saw, but she doesn't believe them, so it's back to the beginning.
All you've got left is the jump scare, and director Christopher Leitch is unafraid to weave that into his playbook. Actually, that's the only thing even remotely frightening here, and that might be just because I have an odd aversion to sudden glimpses of brunettes in gun-metal gray color tones. Regardless, it's a tactic that isn't robust enough to carry this forgettable exercise in mediocrity.
Last note: Secrets in the Walls almost looked like it was going to go all-in on a jarringly depressing ending, but pulled back at the last minute. Too bad. At least that would have made it semi-memorable.
The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital, no extras.
Here's the secret: Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated