THE HAUNTING OF WHALEY HOUSE
* * * * (2012, 90 minutes, Unrated)
A break-out from The Asylum
Full disclosure time: The Asylum’s The Haunting of Whaley House was written and directed by one
of our very own Friends of The ‘Bin, Jose Prendes from Strictly Splatter.
If I were a better movie reviewer, a more professional movie reviewer, I’d
assure you that having an existing friendship with the director of the film
would not affect my review in any way. But that’s bunk, and you know it. I’m
pulling for The Haunting of Whaley House to be successful. I want The
Haunting of Whaley House to be successful.
So you could understand that I was pretty nervous sitting down to watch
this film, cuz I was really hoping it’d be good. Fortunately, The Haunting of
Whaley House is quite good.
After a fun, knowing pre-credits scene (you’ll probably see where it’s
going, but that won’t prevent you from enjoying it), we immediately break
out of the tired haunted house boilerplate by getting a tour of “America’s
|We'd like to think
this is just Jose's
avatar and not a
Most Haunted House.” That’s right: This haunted house is so well-known for being haunted, it’s a
tourist attraction, complete with tour guides in period costume.
After one of the visitors has a seizure when she realizes she’s the only one who has been seeing
ghosts throughout the tour, the Veteran Tour Guide (Lynn Lowry of The Crazies and Shivers) gives
our newbie guide, Penny, The Rules. I just love when a film calls out The Rules -- I immediately
start a shot clock to how long it will take for each rule to be broken.
The Rules of Whaley House:
- Don’t call out the ghosts – they hate that (broken 45 minutes of screen time later)
- Don’t damage the house – the ghosts are very territorial (broken just over an hour later)
- Never, never go inside the house at night (broken in 11 minutes)
Later, we find Penny and her friends drinking in a cemetery and talking about nipples. As today’s
youths tend to do. Our future ghost fodder debates the existence of ghosts (it won’t surprise you
that Penny is a non-believer), when the group hooligan, Craig, proposes that Penny give them a
private late-night tour of the house. The Piano of Sadness suggests that they’re all screwed, and I
am in agreement.
Joining our gang for this excursion is Ray, Craig’s cousin and an amateur ghost hunter, and a well-
known psychic named Keith. Together, our band of cadavers-in-training spend a healthy psychic
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|Unfortunately, no one thought to bring a
proton pack with them to Whaley House.
named Keith. Together, our band of
cadavers-in-training spend a healthy portion
of the movie investigating the house for
paranormal activity. Some might find this
stretch of the film a bit slow, but it’s essential
to the film: not only do we get a chance to
feel out the characters and get more of
Whaley House’s back story, it also allows
the characters to get up to speed with the
audience in realizing that 1) the house is
indeed haunted and 2) they’re in big trouble.
In fact, even after the first of the friends is
killed, they’re still getting up to speed. I really
liked the ambiguity behind the first death
within the gang (for all they know, she tripped
and fell down the stairs), though it made
Craig’s plan to “make it look like an accident”
so the police won’t suggest foul play seem a
bit divorced from the situation at hand. Still,
here and later in the film, it’s nice to see a
death in a horror film actually have an
emotional impact on the surviving characters.
From here, The Haunting of Whaley House moves along quickly and piles up the bodies far more
than your typical haunted house movie. There are a number of very creative deaths and some great
scares – my favorite comes late in the film, with a murder at the hands of someone very
unexpected. We do get to learn more about the ghosts of Whaley House and that there are different
kinds of ghosts. Unfortunately, most of those ghosts are simply actors in white face paint. I
understand the budget constraints, but having ghosts portrayed by actors in white face paint is
But there is also an evil and malicious spirit in the house, and when we see it… well, it’s safe to
say it caught me off-guard. Here’s what I wrote in my notes:
Yes, I’m happy to say that The Haunting of Whaley House is not your typical haunted house movie.
And if there were ever two words to sell you on checking out a horror movie, let them be “prune
|HOLY BALLS!!! WTF IS THAT THING? PRUNE MONSTER??