WIDOW'S POINT movie poster |©2020 101 Films

WIDOW’S POINT movie poster |©2020 101 Films

Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Craig Sheffer, KateLynn E. Newberry, Dominic Luongo, Kaelin Lamberson, John Renna, Richard Satterwhite, Michael Thurber, Willow Xylia Anwar
Writer: Gregory Lamberson, based on the book by Richard Chizmar and Billy Chizmar
Director: Gregory Lamberson
Distributor: 101 Films
Release Date: September 1, 2020

WIDOW’S POINT is a ghost story set in the present, though it takes frequent trips to the past. It also takes place almost entirely in a lighthouse. This may draw a couple of comparisons to that other movie with a similar setting.

To answer one question right away, no, WIDOW’S POINT is in no way nearly as bonkers as THE LIGHTHOUSE, though it does deal with madness. It gets a little wacky in its latter stages, when it merges its hauntings with another horror subgenre. However, it’s set up well enough to work with what’s come before.

Thomas Livingston (Craig Sheffer) is a writer of nonfiction horror who is in desperate need of a new best seller, both in terms of money and his own ego. He has come up with the idea of doing a book about the Widow’s Point Lighthouse, supposedly one of the most haunted sites in America.

These days, Widow’s Point sits on a nicely-landscaped, gated coastal property in Harper’s Cove. The building’s owner, Mr. Parker (Michael Thurber) knows enough to wish the whole place could be torn down, but alas, it’s a historical landmark.

With the enthusiastic support of his agent, Thomas’s plan is to spend the weekend locked in the lighthouse itself, with publicist Rosa (KateLynn E. Newberry) and technician Andre (Dominic Luongo) watching the video feed in the attached residence.

In voiceover, Thomas fills us in on the history of Widow’s Point. We see an alarming film shoot in 1985, an even more sinister poker game in 1933, and some disturbing experiences of young Delaney (Kaelin Lamberson) when her family moves to the lighthouse prior to the unfortunate card party.

By now, one of the questions WIDOW’S POINT encourages us to ask is exactly how much Thomas believes in what he’s selling. We know that, in the film’s reality, the ghosts are real. They flit past oblivious humans early on, open and shut doors, and generally make us nervous enough to look around to make sure they aren’t peering over our shoulders, watching the movie with us.

So, WIDOW’S POINT urges us to wonder when and if will Thomas, Rosa, and/or Andre realize the extent of paranormal activity going on here, will they understand it in time for anyone to be saved, and what’s causing all of this in the first place?

Director/screenwriter Gregory Lamberson, in adapting the book by Richard Chizmar and Billy Chizmar, answers all of the above question in reasonably entertaining fashion. He also takes pains to make character behaviors seem reasonable. When people do things that the audience knows to be unwise, there’s at least a rational explanation for it.

Lamberson establishes up a nicely creepy atmosphere. He and leading man Sheffer seem to be having a good time depicting Thomas’s dawning realization that he’s taken on way more than he should have.

The lighthouse set, with its winding staircase and cramped upper room, is great. Actual onscreen violence is relatively minimal, and the results we see would be acceptable to broadcast standards. Some of the supporting performances are a bit over-stylized, and there are overly leisurely moments, but the jump scares work.

Overall, WIDOW’S POINT feels a little like updated Roger Corman: inexpensive and not epic, but a tidy supernatural tale for those with a taste for some compact, PG-type horror.

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