** Contains Spoilers **
It’s difficult to define what makes a truly great horror film. There are as many definitions as there are horror fans. The only thing that’s certain is that you know one when you’ve seen it. Just as you know when a film is truly, irredeemably awful...
THE PASSING (seriously, where do they come up with these titles?) is the story of three siblings, two brothers and a sister, who, if they want to receive their inheritance, are compelled by their recently deceased grandmother’s will to spend a weekend in her creepy mansion. Their parents are horrified to learn that the siblings must be unsupervised (despite the fact that they appear to be in their early thirties), but the ‘youngsters’ readily agree, viewing it as an opportunity to invite their friends and throw a party. While the others drink and fornicate, the daughter, Elizabeth (played by a perpetually shocked-looking Crystal Day), finds a box of her grandmother’s letters/witchy artefacts, thus freeing the old woman’s ghost to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting partygoers.
Everything about THE PASSING is terrible. The acting is risible, the direction unfocused, and don’t even get me started on the script. Every single character, be they a high-priced lawyer, a senior police detective, or the family patriarch, speaks with exactly the same voice – that of a sneering, immature fourteen year old boy. It’s so bad it actually becomes painful. Various blonde airheads flash their bits in an effort to distract us, but even that soon becomes depressing. A bizarre subplot about a secret sibling, deformed and mentally retarded, goes nowhere, and it’s difficult to understand why, with people dropping dead at every turn, the survivors don’t just forget about their inheritance and get the hell out of there.
The special effects are lousy and the deaths uninspired (or just plain amusing, as in the case of the killer toilet). The story, which is told in flashbacks, makes little sense, and the abrupt ending is as ridiculous as it is uninspired. A mess from start to finish.