Reviewed by Simone Cromer@threatreofzen: The director of The Luring, Christopher Wells, took a couple of pages out of Stephen King’s The Shining and It when creating this psychological horror thriller about an unspeakable childhood tragic event.
To Garrett (Rick Irwin) there is something about the family home in a remote area of Vermont that lures him there to uncover the mystery of an event he cannot remember when he was 10. He brings his girlfriend Claire (Michaela Sprague) with him, and she takes an immediate liking to the house. Garrett explains that his wealthy parents visited the home regularly without him spending time together, giving us a possible clue that his parents did not like him very much. Moments after arriving and removing luggage from the car, Garrett finds a friendly childish welcome note on the windshield with a message which piqued his curiosity.
Mysterious flashbacks provide context to the tragedy of the house and the laundry room, and it is there which holds a luring call to Garrett, which he is trying to understand. One important flashback is the year and a half he spent in a mental home for children. During his first night in the house, there is a thumping noise in the basement. He’s drawn to investigate it and encounters a presence in a mask, teasing him in a seductively enticing way. Is this real, or is it his imagination? Additional flashbacks show Garrett at his 10th birthday party as an extremely mean and selfish young sociopath acting badly towards his guests, his hatred is particularly directed at a sweet little boy with a learning disability. A red balloon is featured in these flashbacks and plays a central role in the downward spiral of Garrett’s mental stability.
There are several moments where Garrett is in public and he is speaking with a mysterious stranger or is this stranger a figment of his imagination? The backdrop color of red light is used by the filmmakers to show when Garrett is engaged in narcissistic psychotic dialogue about Claire and the inconveniences of his life. Claire has convinced herself that she’s in love with Garrett and he’s preparing to propose to her, and when he discusses this with the stranger, a diabolic part of Garrett manifests and it becomes clear that Garrett is not a nice person at all, and the house in Vermont has awakened something evil within him.
Genuinely creepy images haunt the grounds of the property. Claire experiences particularly horrifying stalking that will surely give some viewers nightmares. The beauty of the cinematography around the home in Vermont gave it a grand gothic appearance of something very homely and safe but also very sinister. A plot twist of karmic proportions attempts to correct past evil deeds, but at the stake of another innocent life stolen.
The Luring is in the vein of a King novel that deals with a mind slowing descending into madness triggered by familiar surroundings, and haunting reminders of a shocking homicide years earlier.