We Have Always Lived In The Castle

Despite a star-riddled cast of Taissa Farmiga, Sebastian Stan, & Alexandra Daddario amongst a characteristically-grand estate setting, Passon’s too-prim-and-proper snoozefest lacks literally – everything – that made Hill-House appealing. 2.5/10.

Plot Synopsis: The arrival of a cousin with ulterior motives threatens the claustrophobic and isolated world of two sisters and their uncle.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Review

A famous novel, butchered worse than the Ghost’s work at Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House. We Have Always Lived In The Castle. Shirley Jackson’s real-estate based mysteries have gotten quite a stir in recent time due to the skyrocketing of Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House being amongst 2018’s best TV offerings and a spooky, effectively-sinister supernatural scarefest. This time around, we’re given a different vision written by the same author and marketed using the Hill House stamp and even similar posters and tones. However, we were all duped with this dramatically-inferior product barely deserving the same attention or acclaim as the former showstopper. Despite a star-riddled cast of Taissa Farmiga, Sebastian Stan, & Daddario amongst a characteristically-grand estate setting, Passon’s too-prim-and-proper snoozefest lacks the supernatural intrigue and thrills that made Hill House so appealing in the first place.

The Cast Bludgeoned By The Nonsense They’re Given To Work With

The problem is certainly not in the cast/performances. Boasting a superstar canvas of Taissa Farmiga, Sebastian Stan, Alexandra Daddario, and Crispin Glover, there is not a weak link to be found cast-wise. Everyone does their part and wonders with the comparative nonsense they’re given to work with, especially Taissa being incredible impressive literally changing her entire appearance and posture to a slumped hermit-like look far cry from her other famous outings in everything from AHS to The Nun with one of her more challenging roles here deserving of special praise and a shame it’s wasted with all the other victorian acting from Daddario’s mysterious debantish dark-historied Constance to Stan’s smooth-talking prince-y cousin Charles.

The Spectacular Estate Grounds Of The Idyllic Blackwood Manor It Pains To Be Wasted

Neither is it in the spectacular estate grounds and locational setting of Blackwood Manor characteristic of her work. From lush meadowy grounds with perfectly manicured lawns to idyllic ponds to the old-money mansion itself and of course staff, the film is certainly easy on the eyes. It is not offending to the ears either with a fine classical music-rife piano-heavy score (albeit nothing spectacular it does create a sophisticated ambiance and similar feel to THOHH’s set-up). The movie also reads like a novel on TV thanks to the chapter structure and transitions.

A Laundry List Of Flaws

The Worst: Its Soulless, Sluggish, Unoriginal Too-Prim-And-Proper Feel

Now for the laundry list of flaws. For one, WHALITC is far too prim and proper for its own good. It feels like it’s trying way too hard to be a shakespearean/victorian drama copying works of yesteryears instead of taking inspiration from them and infusing them with modern thrills and excitement like what made HH so phenomenal. Passon indulges her guilty pleasures too often in this fantasy, fairy tale-like la-di-da you have to wonder why on earth they marketed it as being related or by the same mastermind as HH when it can be considered the antithesis. Also, the romantic angle between.. cousins is just plain weird and hilariously the opposite of all this victorian elegance the film indulges itself in the whole time.

The Absence Of Everything That Made The Haunting Of Hill House So Appealing

Speaking of that, it lacks the thrills and supernatural intrigue/horror that made Hill House so intriguing as well. The pacing is simply atrocious with a sleep-walked lull that is difficult to stay awake in, tone absolutely bizarre feeling inexplicably weird and nauseatingly-disorientated most of the time, plot structure unnecessarily contrived, mystery not even mysterious really or with an exciting (non-obvious) reveal, and I’m not sure why they didn’t take the story in far different directions like a whodunit or murder mystery with Constance’s story having more than meet the eye (or simply capitalizing on Hill House’s success and trying a different version/story with different actors and directors).

Conclusion

An Extremely Disappointing Slugfest Wasting Its Generational Resources In An Antithesis Of HOHH

Overall, We Have Always Lived In The Castle is extremely disappointing. Despite a star-riddled cast of Taissa Farmiga, Sebastian Stan, & Daddario amongst a characteristically-grand estate setting, Passon’s too-prim-and-proper snoozefest lacks the supernatural intrigue and thrills that made Hill House so appealing in the first place. I rarely say this often opting for people to at least see the film before judging – good-or-bad, but due to the faulty advertising and bore nature of what we’re bait-and-switched here, I have no qualms advising you to skip this one.

Official CLC Score: 2.5/10