Directed by Robert Hamilton
While looking like I was in for just another haunted house film to notch into my belt, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that director Robert Hamilton’s The Suffering was anything but. So what exactly was it, you ask? Well, step inside these creaky old doors, and let’s have ourselves a chat, shall we?
At the film’s onset you get the feeling that our main character, Henry (Apostolides), is in way over his head with his job as a real estate appraiser, and his latest gig at the request of the property’s owner, Mr. Remiel (Amico). From a creepy conversation with the appointed driver, to an even eerier dialogue with the ghastly maid, better judgement would tell the normal soul to get the hell outta Dodge, but with the amount Mr. Remiel is planning to pay Henry, monetary conscience usually wins out. The Southern gentleman fancies his piano playing, nightly cocktails by the fire, and an occasional labored walk through the grounds that he is handsomely forking over the big bucks for Henry to assess.
As if the previous two encounters wouldn’t have been enough to scare Henry off, one day while he’s glossing over the property, the sight of a seriously decomposed body in the attic seals the deal – he’s catching the next ride out of this joint! Mr. Remile politely reminds him of his financial obligation to his wife and unborn child… and let’s not forget the little honey on the side that he’s now trying to shake (shame on you, Henry).
So the pay is upped quite substantially, Henry stays on as the appraiser, and things begin to go downhill even faster as the nights roll in. What is seen is truly not to be believed, and this big old property has a metric ton of dark secrets hiding all over the place, thus leaving this as not only the aforementioned “haunted house” movie, but a mystery inside a decent psychological thriller to boot.
Apostolides leads the charge as the reluctant temporary employee, playing not only the man desperate for a sizable nest egg for his new family, but a two-timing cheater of a spouse, desperate to leave a sordid past behind him. Amico is as pastoral as he is clandestine – is there something sinister and underlying about this man, or is he just a soul who wants to know how much his claim is worth, regardless of the fact that he’s the sole remaining heir? Lotsa questions here, ladies and gents.
While the film does have its high spots, the downsides are lack of scares and pacing – while it’s imperative to the storyline, this thing moved slower than a herd of snails traveling through molasses. Regardless, Hamilton makes up for the negatives with some nice soundtrack choices (quiet proves to be a killer adoption when it comes to scene enhancement) and beautiful shots of the property to feast your eyes upon.
In closing, The Suffering won’t knock haunted house fans on their keesters, but it will satiate those looking to gain some repentance for past immoralities. Trust me… you’ll know what I’m talking about.