Phrases like “going up,” “on the rise” and “climbing the ladder” are typically phrases attributed with success, or at least, the battle for it.
The underlying tone of director April Mullen’s (88) ‘Farhope Tower’ revolves around this notion.
After a pretty gruesome opening sequence, we are introduced to our protagonists – Jake (John White), his right hand man Andre (Evan Williams), Judy (Lauren Collins), Simon (Tim Doiron) and Zoe (April Mullens) – who make up a team of paranormal investigators – known as the Unspecters – on the search for their big break in the form of a network reality television deal.
You get the gist that Jake and his group have had trouble separating themselves from the pack and have struggled to make ends meet for quite some time. So, when Jake gets a call from a TV executive, who tells him his network is interested in picking up a pilot so long as his team can up the ante, Jake finds himself agreeing to make a trip to the one place he absolutely does not want to go – the Farhope building, also known as the self proclaimed “suicide tower.”
In the aforementioned opening of the film, we get a glimpse into just how gruesome the history of this building has been – a scene that finds its way back into the film repeatedly, so you know there’s some underlying meaning to it.
Despite the building’s morbid reputation, it doesn’t take much for Jake to convince the group that in order to take the next step and become household names and start making some real money, they need to push the envelope and make this trip their best ever.
As the story goes with all haunted property tales, once inside the building, it doesn’t take long for shit to start hitting the fan. The building comes alive and does everything it can to make sure our fearless group never makes it out.
The problem with ‘Farhope Tower’ is that there is nothing inside the story to differentiate it from the others that have come before it.
As an audience, we get treated to a few good scares, some gore and a final act that will make you cringe, but it’s not enough to overcome some major inconsistencies in the plot and overall lack of attention to detail.
I found it quite hard to get over the fact that we’re dealing with a paranormal investigation team who seemingly has years of experience and is hell-bent on getting their big break, yet they come across as complete amateurs who can’t even pick up the camera to shoot things as they are happening. Instead, they rely on testimonials from the team to describe things after the fact. I mean, who does that? It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if it didn’t keep happening over and over again. I found myself dismissing the group as professionals and started taking bets as to who was going to get picked off first.
While I believe there are some solid acting performances, a really solid score, fantastic scenery & makeup and even a nice buildup to our final act, much of the film falls flat due to the plot holes along the way and overall predictability.
All that said, you don’t finish ‘Farhope Tower’ thinking you just wasted time out of your life that you’ll never get back. If you can get over the weaknesses within the plot, you can really appreciate the eery ambiance that Mullens creates and solid performances out of the cast. John White’s performance alone was a saving grace for this film, but overall, I couldn’t help but feel like the potential of this movie was vastly under met.
‘Farhope Tower’ debuted at the Blood in Snow Film Festival in Toronto last month.
Farhope Tower [Review]
Although flawed with plot holes and an overall lack of attention to detail, the solid performances of the cast and overall eery atmosphere salvage what is otherwise a film you feel ended as a missed opportunity.