Director – Norman Lesperance, Screenplay/Producer – Nicholas Bianchi, Photography – Marcos Durian, Music – Julian Beeston, Visual Effects – Local Hero (Supervisor – Worth Bjorn Walters), Makeup Effects – Vanessa Giacoletti, Production Design – Tom McIlwee. Production Company – Concourse Media JaBeep Films.
Mitch Holden (Tim Liston), Nicholas Bianchi (Nick), Chelsea Gilligan (Joan), Jonathan Wallace (Dr Jonathon Sephton), Leann Donovan (Anna), Mykala Sohn (Elinore)
Aging widower Tim Liston lives alone in his home and has not gone out of doors for more than a year. The house he is in is haunted with things moving and appearances from the ghostly figure of a girl. Tim is befriended by neighbouring couple Nick and Joan who encourage him to come out of doors. What Tim does not know is that they have been placed there by a parapsychological researcher who wants to study the ghostly phenomena. As they become aware, Tim is a conduit for the ghosts to emerge as he sleeps.
Reclusion was a solo directorial debut for Norman Lesperance. Lesperance’s only credit before this was as co-director of Future Murder (2000), which has the distinction of being the first film of Andre øvredal of The Troll Hunter (2010) fame. The film was retitled Door to the Other Side and has been more widely known under that name.
I have seen a large number of haunted house and ghost stories in the last few years. They are produced by the truckload for the dvd and cable market. The sheer volume of numbers has caused them to slip into tired formula where you start to feel that almost all of the moves and directorial jumps are played out and each successive entry is just repeating the same thing ad nauseum.
For the most part, Norman Lesperanace seems to be doing exactly the same thing as all these others. The central premise of the old man afraid to go outdoors is a novel one; the addition of a couple of parapsychologists who have been secretly stationed next door without his knowledge is a somewhat more incredible twist to buy. Lesperance does get a mild degree of atmosphere in in some of the scenes with the ghost girl appearing in the background of shots, a chair rocking all on its own or Chelsea Gilligan’s being massaged under her bedshirt while she sleeps despite nobody else being there.
Certainly, the sleep apnoea twist that comes in mid-film takes everything in an unexpected directions. Alas, the script fumbles the ball after this point and doesn’t quite follow through or explain all of its ideas. If, for instance, the ghost girl we keep seeing is not Mitch Holden’s daughter, as the prologue leads us to assume, then who is she and what is the agency in the house? What exactly is it that he is channelling when he sleeps?