I love horror movies that take a traditional aspect of our lives and turn it into something terrifying. I particularly enjoy those flicks that can take an innocent childhood tale or myth and distort it into a horrific joyride of fun. And that is exactly what THE HAUNTING OF HELENA does; it turns a light and airy ritual of youth into a dark foray into horror.
If you are not familiar with THE HAUNTING OF HELENA, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the film’s press release:
After a divorce, Sophia moves to the south of Italy with her daughter, Helena. The new house, located inside an austere building of the fascist age, hides a mysterious closet and dark secret. After the loss of Helena’s first baby tooth, a nightmare begins that could only come from darkness. This is the tale of a mysterious woman: an angel or a witch, a little girl, charmed by the arrival of the ‘Fairy of the teeth’, and her mother. Powerless before the transformation of an innocent children’s tale into a nightmare coming from afar, HAUNTING OF HELENA does not descend into a splatter film, but rather slides along the sharp blade of psychological fiction.
The Tooth Fairy has always frightened me, but I’m not sure why. It might be because she can slip into your house undetected, much like Santa Clause, but she comes to take things instead of leave them. Or it could simply be her obsession with teeth and her willingness to pay in order to get them. If such a being existed, how far might she go to get what she wanted?
THE HAUNTING OF HELENA is not a traditional Tooth Fairy story, but it sure packs one hell of a punch. It is shot very well, and I have to confess that some of the cinematography is what makes the film so creepy. The opening scene is particularly well done, and I was shocked to learn in the Behind the Scenes featurette that much of it was done with computer animation. The CG images are seamless and create an amazing opening sequence that sets the tone for the whole film.
The acting is pretty good overall, although I am almost ashamed to admit that I don’t care much for performance given by the actress who portrayed young Helena, Sabrina Jolie Perez. For me, she lacks the emotional range and depth needed for a role like this one. Instead of sadness or joy, all I see in her facial expressions is a bland gaze that reads like depression. This does not detract from the movie, as her portrayal of Helena is simply downright eerie, but I do feel it is worth mentioning. Hopefully, her future roles will come out differently.
But what really wins this film for me is the writing and the story itself. There is a huge revelation towards the end that I never saw coming, which almost made the movie for me in itself. The plot moves at a nice pace and I never once felt like it was going stale. There are also several chilling scenes that literally made my flesh crawl. You just can’t ask for much more in a horror film.
THE HAUNTING OF HELENA is a top notch film that deserves your attention. The film is available now in a variety of formats, so give it a look.