The Poltergeist of Borley Forest (2013)


aka You Will Love Me

USA. 2013.


Director/Photography – Stephen McKendree, Screenplay – R. Presley Stephens, Story – Kimberly Britt & R. Presley Stephens, Producers – Jay Frank & Nicole Pennington, Music – Chris Harper, Geoff Langhans & Neno Stevens, Visual Effects – Daniel Emerick & Stephen McKendree, Production Design – Jason Beck. Production Company – Liberty Lane Productions/Ruthless Pictures


Marina Petrano (Paige Pritchard), Christopher Ingle (Tommy Pritchard), Nicholas Barrera (Cooper), Rhea Rossiter (Brenda Pritchard), Weston Adwell (Ava Griffin), Jason Beck (Dr Hidalgo), Lisa Shorts (Susan Pritchard), Chris Crook (Glenn Pritchard), Rebecca Barrow Hall (Jenna Daniels), Mary Trzcinski (Esther Pendleton)


High school senior Paige Pritchard sneaks out to Borley Forest for a party with some college students. When she gets home, she is grounded for lying to her parents about where she was. Soon after, Paige begins to be haunted by a shadowy figure. The spectral figure attacks a friend on a sleepover, leaving her in a catatonic state. As Paige and others investigate the dark history of Borley Forest, they realise that one of two twin brothers who died there in 1951 is haunting Paige.

The Poltergeist of Borley Forest is a directorial debut for Stephen McKendree, a novice filmmaker from Florida who had only previously made short films. The film was made under the title You Will Love Me and sat unreleased after it was completed in 2013 until distributor Image Entertainment retitled it The Poltergeist of Borley Forest and released it a few weeks after the remake of Poltergeist (2015) in an effort to ride the same bandwagon, despite the fact that it features no poltergeists. It is unclear whether the name Borley Forest was some attempt to appeal to Borley Rectory, which is considered the most haunted site in Britain.

I have written recently on how exhausted and tired the haunting genre has become since the late 2000s, how plots seem trapped in the same limited moves and the genre has been mined to a point of exhaustion down the low-budget end of the spectrum. The Poltergeist of Borley Forest does nothing to counter this. To his credit, Stephen McKendree gets in the odd spooky scene – there is an eerie image of a black shadowy figure hovering over the bed as the two girls sleep. On the other hand, there is nothing standout about any of the scares, they at most achieve a passable competence. The film becomes far less interesting during the latter half when it comes to the detective story as the protagonists set out to trace the history of the ghosts.

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