Out this week on rental is an independent film called A Haunting on Gabriel Street. Any background on this title was difficult to find considering that it was original released under the name of The Sigil.
The movie was written by Nathan Dean Snyder and Brandon Cano-Errecart. Snyder performed double duties as writer and actor. Cano-Errecart also had an acting role in this film and took on the additional roles of the film’s editor, handheld camera operator, and director.
The story begins at the funeral of a young man, who reportedly died of “radiation poisoning” along with 41 other residents in his apartment home in Los Angeles. Unable to accept the explanation given about his death, his sister Devan (played by Devan Lijidahl) attempts to find out what really happened. She recruits friends Nate and Brandon (played by Synder and Cano-Errecart) to help her in her investigation. When they arrive in LA, they find more than they bargain for, starting with the strange neighbors next door (played by Miki Matteson and Matthew Black).
I liked Synder and Liljedahl’s performances in this film. Unfortunately, the full potential of those performances never manifested, mostly because of a few moments of unusual dialogue between their characters. I also didn’t like how both characters seemed to flip back and forth between caring and distaste for each other. There was also underexplored subtext between the characters of Brandon and Miki that I would have enjoyed developed further.
For me, the music really stood out as the best part of this movie. Parker Davis delivers a traditional cinematic horror score that had an appropriate balance of melancholy and excitement. Armee Jacob’s makeup for Miki was subdued and believable. I wished there would have been a better budget for visual effects though, especially at the main climatic scene. Some additional dollars would have really made that scene more believable for me, and not so laughable. But the location they scouted for the main apartment was great, assuming they didn’t build it outright.
I really feel that this film would have been better had it not attempted to incorporate traditional filming with found-footage elements. This film is an early project for these filmmakers though and I could easily see them return back to this project someday to really make it the film that it could be. Heck, the movie was already rebranded once. Why not do it again after getting some more experience under their belts?
I gave this film 1.4 bowties out of 5. I recommend that you pass on this film for now, or at least until it reaches the discount rental shelves.
Wow…I think I just got the 42 reference. ~faceplam~