2/10 Not to be confused with anything “Alice in Wonderland” related, “The Mad Hatter” follows four college students and their professor who spend a weekend in a haunted house for a volunteer study. The story is as generic as they come, the characters are paper thin and nothing new is provided that we haven’t already seen done better in superior horror films. Before I get to why this movie is a disaster, I will give credit where credit is due. Isadora Cruz, who is relatively new to major motion pictures, has some solid screen presence and it doesn’t hurt that she’s incredibly easy on the eyes. Despite an overall mediocre cast, she is the stand out to keep an eye on. I also dug the movie’s disturbingly sinister vibes which kept its feeling of unease lasting for the entire duration. Sitting all alone in the dark theater, even I, a horror film veteran, had a few moments of fear grasp me, which I appreciated. The movie’s score is a mixed bag which I will use to transition into all of the movie’s mishaps. The score is actually fairly well written and adds to the movie’s creepy vibes, which helped with the overall experience. The problem with the score was that it was completely overused and used in non-scary scenes where it felt totally out of place. For example, one scene has students just sitting in a college classroom and another scene not too far afterwards has the four students entering their weekend getaway for the first time, during broad day light. Both scenes are not meant to be scary at all but the score wants to be scary ALL THE TIME. It became repetitive and felt like it was gas lighting the audience that you should feel creeped out, despite nothing creepy happening and it was distracting. The writing was the worst part of the movie as not only did characters get virtually no development (one girl’s dad has cancer in a cheap attempt to garner sympathy but we know nothing about him or their relationship so we don’t care) but they also felt completely unrealistic. The professor brings them to this supposedly haunted house, gives minimal instructions and is largely missing in action for the weekend. If this was a legit school sanctioned trip, there would have been a lot more parameters set up and guidelines established. He instructs the students to write down what they see and don’t see (how can you observe what you don’t see?) into their journals but he never asks them about it and we only see one character ever bust hers out. After the real creepy, demonic and terrifying stuff starts happening, everyone acts abnormally calm once it ends and doesn’t immediately request to go home and end the experiment. As more and more disturbing events kept adding up, the unreal nature of the students not running for the hills became unbearable. The mad hatter himself, whom the movie is named after, has a lame backstory and no development whatsoever, making him a boring and unintimidating villain. Despite a few scares, decent visuals and a well written (if misused) score, the abysmal writing, forgettable characters and generic lack of common sense makes this a hat that you won’t want to ever try on.

#TheBadHatter / #TheProfessorAndTheMadmen / #ThrowYourHatInTheRingOfFire / #ProfessorHartBurn / #BallDoomDancing / #TheMastermindedProfessor

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