ALTAR (2014) – Story Beats

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Altar – not a remarkable or edgy film by any stretch but a bone stock, by the numbers exercise in hitting all of the tropes in the genre and staying on pace. Some things to note here plot wise – this film manages to hit all of the beats a little too perfectly – yet it tends to feel unoriginal and forced at times.  A big lesson to learn from this one – even though you may manage to hit the proper plot beats and can afford to have name stars in your film – that doesn’t mean there’s anything of substance about it. At the heart of things you must have to have a good ORIGINAL story – one that we haven’t seen a thousand times before – to intrigue the viewer and get that word of mouth going. And that is pretty much what we are stuck with here in Altar – a stock PG style movie of the week haunted English Manor story that never tries to add anything new to the canon.  Typical here are the family arrival at a new place, money problems cause them to stay instead of leave like normal people, a series of low rent bump scares, people walking around in kind of the dark but not really (I call it Hollywood dark), a series of hidden rooms revealed that were “not on the map”, Satanic symbolism, pentagrams, ghost lady tortured, doors opening by themselves, a quirky ghost hunter to prove it all is “actually happening” and the classic house with an evil past that no one seems to believe until it is way too late. A very nicely shot and well paced – but ultimately forgettable – haunted house movie.

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