If you want to start a horror film with a bang, having something terrible happen to a child the prologue would be a good way to do it, right? Especially if that’s already happened once before in that house. Well, that’s how writer/director Christopher Wells opens his first feature, The Luring. Unfortunately, he ruins it by following the credits with a talky bit of exposition. And some of the dumbest bits of plotting I’ve come across in ages.
It seems Garrett (Rick Irwin, The Dead Hate the Living, 30 Minutes or Less) doesn’t remember that incident. Or the spell in an institution that followed. But now he and his girlfriend Claire (Michaela Sprague) are going back to where it happened, his family’s old summer home.
Why now you ask? Because a woman (Molly Fahey, All God’s Creatures) who won’t reveal her name or show her face contacted him on social media. And said he should come back. Then she shows up his first night there. He finally gets to see her face but still has no idea who she is. And we can all that tell she’s batshit insane. But he thinks she’s hot so he decides to stick around.
We are now twenty-five minutes into The Luring and my sense of disbelief can’t be suspended anymore. I could maybe have seen him chasing this mystery psycho if he was alone and/or this was supposed to be an erotic thriller. But he isn’t and the film is billed as a psychological thriller/horror. And things get less believable from there.
Since Wells has said two of his influences on The Luring were The Shining and David Lynch. So that might be intentional. The Shining’s influence is obvious in Garrett’s mental collapse and growing nastiness throughout the film. It seems the longer they stay at the house and the more he remembers the worse he gets.
Lynch’s influence shows up in the way nothing in The Luring makes any damn sense. I know the idea is to keep the viewer guessing what’s going on. If it’s real, hallucinated, something supernatural, etc. But things feel so disjointed and some of the events so unbelievable it’s more confusing than intriguing. By the one hour mark, all I could think of was how much better Dry Blood handled this kind of material.
When we finally find out what happened in Garrett’s childhood the revelation should be disturbing. But since some early flashbacks make it obvious what happened it falls flat. The ending doesn’t explain much and an epilogue just adds to the confusion. The Luring could have been interesting, but it wastes the material’s potential by being way too cryptic and improbable.