We’re all familiar with the principle of not judging a book by its cover. The implication here is that the cover can be misleading, and we are apt to miss something special therein. This is metaphorical, and applies to everything in life, including horror films – And the principle swings both ways.
Low budget horror is a bit like a game of Russian roulette. Thanks to our viewing climate being dominated by streaming services, most viewers do not hesitate to dodge an oncoming bullet by exiting the film prematurely. I’m guilty of taking advantage of this tactic in my leisure time, which is why this gig has been such an enlightening experience for me – I’m set to review the entire picture, which means I must forcefully stick it out regardless of how strong my desire to jump ship. Unfortunately, in the case of Christopher Wells‘ THE LURING, I was left with a head full of lead.
THE LURING is described as a psychological thriller, following a man as he attempts to unveil a traumatizing event he has suppressed from his childhood. I can get behind a good psychological thriller, and to be fair this film wasn’t totally unwatchable. The opening sequence of the film, which unveiled the event in which our leading man has no recollection, was deeply unsettling. Unfortunately due to the unnecessary, and highly confusing paranormal incidents dominating the rest of the film, my interest fizzled out shortly thereafter.
Before I get into my main complaint, I just want to say that I understand it is 2019 – Pretty much every base in the horror genre has been covered by now, and it is very difficult to come up with a totally unique idea. This aside, a central element of the film is the use of a red balloon that lures whoever happens upon it into something either spooky or fatal. I highly doubt I need to spell it out for you, but furthering this sour taste in my mouth was a scene in which this red balloon conjures up a spooky, paranormal clown. If this combination was trademarked by It, the highest-grossing horror movie of all time, I think we’d be smelling a lawsuit by now.
Maybe I’m a horror purist, but putting that aside I had a handful of other issues with this picture. Namely, the characters, as the only ones I found to be tolerable were featured in the opening scene, never to return again. Our leading man isn’t meant to be likable, but both he and his girlfriend had me so irritated that it felt like I was being forced to sit next to someone I loathed for an extended period of time.
Coupling this unshakable irritation with the vehicle I’ve been provided, I had difficulty making sense of the story they were bestowing upon me. I had high hopes after being introduced to the horrors of the suppressed event and was furthered disturbed upon discovering the circumstances that led to it. To me, it was an incredibly strong concept that, unfortunately, fell victim to a lack of coherency in the story progression. One could argue this is how psychological thrillers are supposed to make you feel, but I ended up exiting this picture with a little too foggy a head. It felt hollow in moments, clustered in others, and ultimately concluded with too many loose ends longing to be tied.