The Ghosts of Borley Rectory (2021) Review
The Ghosts of Borley Rectory claims to recount one of the most famous cases of alleged supernatural activity in British history. Although now considered to be debunked and Harry Price’s investigations discredited, the events at Borley Rectory at one time earned it the title of the most haunted house in England.
Director Steven M. Smith (Dead Again, Doll House) and co-writer Christopher Jolley (Scare Attraction, Age of the Living Dead) have already done one film on the subject, The Haunting of Borley Rectory. Now they’re having another go at it, can The Ghosts of Borley Rectory do better than the 3.2 out of 10 rating the first one is currently sitting at on IMDB?
It’s 1937 and Harry Price (Toby Wynn-Davies, Nefarious, Witches of Amityville Academy) and his assistant Mark (Reece Putinas, The Apeman of the Amazon) are settling into Borley Rectory for a six-month stay to investigate the reports of ghostly activities. Sidney Glanville (Richard Harfst, The Candy Witch) stops in for a visit and leaves his daughter Helen (Louisa Warren, The Leprechaun’s Game, Scarecrow’s Revenge ) and son Roger (Lee Hancock, Tooth Fairy: The Last Extraction) behind to help Harry in his investigations.
They launch into their investigations with the aid of a medium Estelle Roberts (Toyah Willcox, Invasion Planet Earth, Aaaaaaaah!) and Charles Sutton (Colin Baker, Dr. Who, The Asylum) and the testimony of the local Vicar (Julian Sands, Warlock, The Ghosts of Monday), who along with his wife claim to have encountered the spectre of an evil nun.
The Ghosts of Borley Rectory was obviously influenced by both ghost hunter films and The Nun and all the other recent Sisters from Hell films. And, needless to say, it has next to nothing to do with actual events or Price’s investigations. However, taken strictly as a low-budget haunted house film, The Ghosts of Borley Rectory is an enjoyable time-waster. There are all the things we’ve come to expect, seances that go wrong, objects that move by themselves, superstitious and/or suspicious locals, nightmare scenes, they’re all there. And, of course, a ghost.
The Nun herself is creepy looking, with hollowed-out, bloody eyes and a rotted looking face. It’s a simple but effective makeup job, and we get to see it several times throughout the film. The horned demon that pops up near the end of The Ghosts of Borley Rectory, on the other hand is a fairly obvious Halloween mask.
Being a low-budget film there are a fair amount of talky scenes, but the script has the good sense to put some scares in some of those scenes, even if it’s just a simple jump scare. And there are plenty of those throughout the film. The horror in The Ghosts of Borley Rectory never really gets much deeper than that, but sometimes that’s fine, every film doesn’t have to be elevated horror.
While most of the bigger names have small roles, The Ghosts of Borley Rectory does have more in the way of star power than usual for one of Smith’s films. That may be because it’s a co-production between his Greenway Entertainment and Warren’s ChampDog Films, which has produced several of Scott Jeffrey’s films. Granted, I’d rather see them use their combined efforts to add more effects rather than cameos, but that’s what sells copies.
It won’t stick with you for long after you watch it, but The Ghosts of Borley Rectory will keep you entertained and jumping in your seat. Kaleidoscope Films will release The Ghosts of Borley Rectory in the UK on October 11th on DVD and Digital. You can check the film’s Facebook page for details and announcements of release dates in other countries.