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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Legend of Lucy Keyes (2006)

Those that read this blog on a regular basis will know that I love a good ghost story.  They will also know that I think that they are also one of the hardest things to transpose to the big screen...

Guy and Jeanne have moved to a small town with their two daughters in order to be close to each other while Guy works on getting approval for and construct a wind farm in Princeton.  Soon, Jeanne starts to investigate the origins of a strange voice and apparition that appears in the wood nearby.  Her investigations set off a chain of events that echo back to the disappearance of little Lucy Keyes back in the 1700's...

"The Legend of Lucy Keyes" starts off with a bang with the family being terrorized by a vengeful spirit- setting you up with certain expectations.  For me, this movie met some of these expectations, and fell just a little short of others.

The story is based on the real life mystery surrounding the disappearance of a girl named Lucy Keyes back in the 1700's.  Other than that, the rest of the movie is fiction- and we well thought out fiction too.  The premise is interesting, and offers potential for some good ghost story telling.  It's not a fast paced story, but does move along fairly well.  There are a couple of moments where it drags, but not for long.  As with most ghost stories, there is more dramatic elements than horror elements- which helped to add depth to the story.  My only complaint is that I would've liked to have seen more involving the ghost itself.

The characters were interesting, and unique, even those that were filling somewhat stereotypical roles.  Guy and Jeanne Cooley are a likeable and believable couple with depth created by the knowledge of their back story.  I came to feel for Jeanne as she tried to deal with both her fear and sympathy in relation to the ghost of Martha Keyes.  The character of Samantha Porter was interesting since she gave contradictory vibes- a nice person when she wanted to be, but hiding some serious darkness inside her.  I also really liked Jonas Dodd, the slightly unbalanced neighbour who was convinced the smell of clam bellies kept ghosts away.  His character added humour and unease to the story- I kept expecting him to up and shoot at the wall because of the ghost.  Gretchen Caswell, though filling the role of the town crazy with the warning, also showed wisdom and honest, good intentions.  All of these characters added a nice texture to the movie that I enjoyed.

The acting wasn't great- more suited for either a made for TV movie, or a direct to video movie.  I found Justin Theroux, who played Guy Cooley, rather stiff and expressionless throughout most of the movie, while Julie Delpy did a decent enough job portraying Jeanne, but didn't seem to express much in the way of emotional range.  I felt that Brooke Adams as Samantha Porter was great in the role, and did an excellent job bringing to life a character that had two sides to them.  Mark Boone, Jr. was quite fun to watch as Jonas, even if it was a little over the top at times.  The final actor of note is Jamie Donnelly, as Gretchen.  She brought an earnestness to the character that was nice and sincere.

The film is beautifully shot.  The camera work isn't complex, but the Director- John Stimpson, showed great skill in editing together long and close shots together smoothly to create a real nice atmosphere.  This is enhanced by the rural location, and the colours used throughout the movie.  The only element that fell short visually was the special effects.  You could tell the ghosts were done with special effects, as Martha Keyes' ghost didn't blend in well with the shots- though the scene in the bedroom was enjoyable.  I also would've liked to have seen a more ghostly appearance to the ghost of Lucy Keyes as well.

I also liked the music used as well- something I don't often notice in movies.

Over all, I enjoyed "The Legend of Lucy Keyes."  While I might not watch it more than once on the spur of the moment, I would recommend it to a friend, and watch it on a Ghost Movie Night.  I'm placing this movie in "The Bad".

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