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Review: Matt Dickstein’s “The Haunting of Grady Farm”

I’m very critical of found footage features. If the film-makers aren’t careful, it’s either an excuse to be lazy with their production or it’s stylized so much that it looses that raw, could be real appeal. Luckily, Ideomotion Films’ latest picture, The Haunting of Grady Farm, juggles this obstacle beautifully. The camera quality is on point when it needs to be, like during an interview or inside a tiny space when quality would be easier to capture, and then it has that earthy, lost footage feel when the group is exploring outside or trekking through the woods at night. The Haunting of Grady Farm follows a travel show that documents supposed haunted locations around America. When they visit the Grady Farm in Florida, it becomes apparent that reality is scarier than fiction. Directed by Matt Dickstein and starring Ben Kaplan, Shane Hartline, Lauren O’Quinn, Malia Miglino, Jeremiah Burton, Tony Demil, Alex Owens-Sarno and Josh Server, The Haunting of Grady Farm is available on demand starting November 3rd 2020 via High Octane Pictures, and it’s definitely worth the price of purchase!

Hold on. Josh Server is in this horror film? He looks so familiar. Holy shit, he’s from “All That!” As a 90’s Nickelodeon kid, it was such a blast from the past to see Josh in this flick, and I’m happy to see he’s still involved in the entertainment industry. The Haunting of Grady Farm was written by Shane Hartline, Malia Miglino, Ben Kaplan and Jeremiah Burton. It might sound funny to read that four people were responsible for writing one found footage film, but in this case, extra pairs of eyes and extra brains contributed to making The Haunting of Grady Farm more than your traditional “in the woods” storyline. The film almost feels like it’s part of the new season of “Unsolved Mysteries” on Netflix because the way they depict the story of the Gradys is just so good. And the introduction of the Irish spirit, the Sluagh, was a welcomed addition to the list of evil entities from other countries. The Haunting of Grady Farm partially lives up to the old hype of The Blair Witch Project while also becoming something completely original and enticing.

The Haunting of Grady Farm finds cinematography by Matt Dickstein & Adam Arnali. As far as behind-the-scenes work goes, I will say there are some audio issues in the very beginning. The one shot of the Sluagh could have been better, too. Aside from that, this one’s on the mark. I was also surprised to see that all the locations they used outside were worthwhile, and I think it’s positive that horror fans will have something else to look at besides trees. And, going back to the screen-writers, horror fans don’t need to wait until the end of the movie for the fun to kick off, which is usually what happens. The suspense and terror start midway through the film and grow to a climactic finale. If you can’t tell by now, I was severely impressed by this flick. The people working behind-the-scenes obviously knew what they were doing, and the work they put into the camera was expertly highlighted by the cast on screen. It was the perfect working combination that certainly paid off. The Haunting of Grady Farm is one of the best found footage films of this year. Ominous, startling and creepy. Make sure you watch it this November!

Final Score: 8 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)