\t'The Haunting of Sharon Tate' opens three days before the murders, as Tate returns from Europe eight months pregnant without her husband Roman Polanski. The film centers around Tate (Hilary Duff), plagued by visions of her impending murder by “Charlie”, a mysterious man visiting the house regularly and leaving tapes of his music for Tate to listen to. As the film unfolds, we witness Tate becoming more and more convinced her house is being watched. She begins to see women (from the Manson family) outside her window, dead animals in her fridge, and hearing subliminal messaging in the tapes. Her paranoia builds and builds, including a step-for-step premonition of the murders two nights before they happen.
\tThe film is in shockingly poor taste. It uses the Tate and Manson names for recognition and gravity on the anniversary of the murders whilst unashamedly straying as far away from the truth as possible. Writer-director Daniel Farrands seems to take no issue with using a brutal real-life murder as the basis for a cheap supernatural schlock horror. And not only is the entire premise of the film incredibly vulgar, but the film also has the audacity to be one of the worst I have seen in recent years. Duff doesn’t bring the charisma needed for a titular role, and her portrayal of Tate is airheaded and irritating; the rest of the actors are unconvincing and forgettable; and the dialogue sounds scripted and unnatural, sounding awfully like Farrands has never participated in a real-life conversation. Throughout, the plot is reduced to cheap jump-scares set to a cheesy horror score.
Farrands has somehow managed to take a senselessly violent and unjust tragedy and strip his characters of any personality they had in real life, thereby getting rid of any sympathy or sadness the audience may have felt for Tate or her friends and their untimely deaths. Instead, you watch the film with a sense of complete removal and vague amusement as the film, without fail, ticks off cliche after cliche. In fact, if the film weren’t so crass and, frankly, offensive, I might have enjoyed it as an achievement in trashy comedy. However, as it stands, 'The Haunting of Sharon Tate' has very few redeeming qualities. However, it has set the bar nice and low - I am doubtful Tarantino’s upcoming film can be as tasteless as this, and definitely won’t be as artless. My suggestion? Wait a few months, and see that one instead.