The tragic story of Sharon Tate takes on a whole new twist and meaning in this very tense drama from the director who brought you The Amityville Murders.
On August 6, 1969, actress Sharon Tate, who is eight months pregnant, returns home after a trip. There, she runs into friends Abigail Folger and Wojciech Fryskowski, the latter who is the best friend of Tate’s husband, director Roman Polanski. Upon her arrival, she receives a mysterious package in which the envelope reads “From Charlie”. She finds a tape in which she starts listening and becomes to get frightened.
Soon enough, she begins to have nightmares about herself and her friends, including Jay Sebring, being viciously murdered by a mysterious man and some females. As she listens to the tape again, the nightmares begin to occur more and more. With the help of new gardener Steven Parent, an expert in electronics, she soon learns that the tape played backwards is a voice saying “Helter Skelter”. Soon, the nightmare will become a terrifying reality.
Daniel Farrands, the writer-director who brought you the true story of what would eventually become The Amityville Horror’s prequel, returns with another fact-based tale but this time around, he adds some intricate twists to the tale. The story has been mentioned numerous times, but usually focuses on the murderer himself, the late Charlie Manson. With this film, Farrands intends to bring the point of view from the victims themselves, notably the titular Sharon Tate.
One would never expect Hilary Duff of all people to take on the role of Sharon Tate, as this is a total against type for what many are used to. However, the role would allow Duff to give it her all as a viable actress and with her role as Tate, she succeeds to a tee. She plays Tate as someone who feels a sense of insecurity with her husband not with her. She goes as far as being unable to trust her friends who were housesitting, with the exception of Jay, played by Jonathan Bennett, whose character proves to be the only one Tate seems to be able to trust until she meets Steven, played by Ryan Cargill, who gives her some very existential evidence of why she could be having her nightmares.
As her friends Abigail and Wojciech, Lydia Hearst and Pawel Szajda give some pretty good support. While Tate slowly begins to distrust them due to some extenuating circumstances, her nightmares prove that perhaps she will need her friends more than ever. The nightmare sequences are very gruesome, at times showing very graphic depictions that seem to take a very deadly route. In an interesting move, Farrands takes a sort of Inglorious Basterds route to the story, but the film does bring a sense of reality in terms of what happened that fateful day.
The Haunting of Sharon Tate takes the real-life story and gives it through the point of view of its titular victim rather than the usual shtick of the film focus on Manson. Hilary Duff successfully breaks typecast in the role of the ill-fated Tate with some intricate twists mixed in. Daniel Farrands found himself another winner here.
WFG RATING: A-
Saban Films presents a Skyline Entertainment production in association with ETA Films, 1428 Films, and Green Light Pictures. Director: Daniel Farrands. Producers: Daniel Farrands, Eric Brenner, and Lucas Jarach. Writer: Daniel Farrands. Cinematography: Carlo Rinaldi. Editing: Dan Riddle.
Cast: Hilary Duff, Jonathan Bennett, Lydia Hearst, Pawel Szajda, Ryan Cargill, Ben Mellish, Bella Popa, Fivel Stewart, Tyler Johnson.
Saban Films will be releasing the film on April 5 in select theaters and On Demand.