Hulu Horror Double Feature: Soulmate and The Legend of Lucy Keyes
Even though I don’t always succeed, I really do try very hard to maintain some semblance of regularity on this blog. Of course, circumstances usually intervene, and I have to be content with simply posting a short writing update or radio show link rather than the more in-depth content I enjoy writing. I really am going to try posting more of that longer stuff, though, and to that end, I actually had a bit of a brainwave yesterday, vis á vis finding fodder for longer posts.
You see, this past week has been a bit of a clusterfuck, to put it mildly, as the God of Hellfire had to be hospitalized for almost a week because of a cat bite, of all things (note to readers: cat bites are absolutely no joke, and will get infected before you can sing the first bar of that Ted Nugent song, leaving you with no choice but to languish in the hospital for days on end, attached to countless IV drips, hoping one does not have to have the bitten limb amputated or at least surgerated upon). Obviously I was in no state of mind for writing, as I shuttled back and forth from work to hospital and back again, breaking only briefly for showers and drive-thru dinners. The GoH is back home now, huzzah, but he’s still convalescing, and needs help with tasks that necessitate the use of his left hand (so, a lot of tasks, really).
ANYWAY, as I spent yesterday watching over him, keeping an eye on the wounds, fetching whatever he needed, keeping track of his meds, and what not, I decided to slap some random horror flick on Hulu and watch that sucker. So I did. Then, when that first one was over, the next one they recommended looked pretty decent too, so I thought hell, I’ll watch two of ‘em; not like I have anywhere in particular to be except right here monitoring my patient.
And then it came to me: Hulu Horror Double Feature blog series! Pick one horror/suspense film at random, watch, see which movie comes up next, watch that one, then review and post. Easy! Painless! Sure to bring about world peace in our lifetimes! Or, y’know, not. Oh, and my Scary Silents and Favorite Horror Scenes series will continue sporadically as well, so don’t worry your little horror heads about that.
There aren’t really any rules to this new Double Feature series; I’m just going to pick a random flick that looks good, watch it, then watch the next one that comes on, unless I’ve already seen it, in which case I’ll skip to the next one until I get to one I haven’t seen yet. Then I will review them here for your edification. You win, I win, we all win, Steve Wynn. And after that insufferably long preamble, we’re off to the races!
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you will know how much I love me some understated ghost story action, particularly if it’s British. Scrolling through the “Paranormal” section of the Horror/Suspense classification on Hulu, I came across Soulmate (2013), which from the brief description sounded right up my alley. I didn’t read any of the reviews before starting it, just clicked play and sat back. In brief, the movie is the story of a violinist named Audrey, who has attempted suicide after the death of her beloved husband. She survives, but feels the need to be alone so she can move on from the tragedy. Without telling her family where she is going, she checks herself out of the hospital and rents a cottage in a remote Welsh village. The cottage, obviously, turns out to be haunted, and there are some intriguing secrets waiting to be discovered about the other townsfolk that tie in with the man who is haunting Audrey’s cottage, as well as some mysteries surrounding the ghost’s motives.
First off, I loved this movie, but it is definitely NOT for everyone. Matter of fact, I don’t know if I would really call it a horror movie per se; it has some creepy moments and eerie imagery, but it’s more like a gothic romance or a spooky character study than a horror film. I want to say it’s like a low-key mashup of The Woman In Black, The Others, and Truly, Madly, Deeply. The acting is fantastic, and the cinematography is gloomily stunning, but keep in mind that the pace of this thing is glacially slow, and even though I was intrigued by the story and stayed with it no problem, I can see how people might get impatient or bored, because it does take a while to get where it’s going. The whole interaction between Audrey and the ghost might also be a dealbreaker for some viewers, depending on how absurd (or not) you find the situation she finds herself in. Personally, like I said, I took it in the same vein as Truly, Madly, Deeply, which I adored, but your mileage may vary. Overall, I found this a really lovely piece of cinema, and I’m actually really glad I chose it, even though I have to say that the American cover art (top) featured on Hulu was really not indicative of its content and looked kinda generic and lame; as you can see below, the British cover on the bottom was much classier and more evocative of its style.
Next up was another ghost story, this one set in New England instead of old. The Legend of Lucy Keyes (2005) starred Julie Delpy and Justin Theroux as a city couple who move to a small town in Massachusetts when hubby is offered work on a project building a wind farm near Wachusett Mountain. This film is actually based on the real legend of four-year-old Lucy Keyes, who disappeared in the nearby woods in 1755, and the subsequent haunting of the area by her mother Martha, who to this day can allegedly be heard calling for her lost daughter in the forest. Significantly, the city couple in the movie also have a daughter named Lucy (as well as another one named Molly, but she doesn’t factor into the story too much), and things start to get increasingly ghostly from there. If you know the legend, you won’t be surprised by the outcome of the movie, but since I hadn’t heard the story before, I enjoyed following along as the mystery was solved.
Gotta say, I didn’t like this one nearly as much as Soulmate, but it was actually a decent enough way to spend two hours. Its production aesthetic was obviously not remotely in the same league as the first film, and in fact reminded me at times of a Lifetime made-for-TV type movie. The acting was fine (though the chemistry between the two leads was rather off, so much so that I was having a hard time believing they were supposed to be a loving married couple), and the little girl playing Lucy was actually pretty adorable (and that’s coming from someone who generally can’t stand child actors or children in general). The plot was suspenseful enough to keep me interested, though it did telegraph the mystery a tad. The ghost effects were a bit cheesy, and some of the “villain” characters (especially Brooke Adams as Samantha) were teetering on the edge of cartoonishly evil, but overall, not bad. This isn’t a film I would necessarily go out of my way to watch, but if you’re into New England-style ghost stories and are bored out of your skull one day, you could certainly do a lot worse.
Hope you enjoyed this first installment! I will probably have more in the coming weeks, depending on how much time I have to sit down and watch two movies in one sitting. Until next time, then, keep it creepy, my friends. Goddess out.