RJ Bayley Reviews: White With Red
This review contains a spoiler.
We’ve seen in recent reviews that creepypasta can make for some effective horror like Chris Lopez’s The Girl in the Photograph. Director Brandon Christensen’s White with Red is not one of those films. To its credit it’s very brief, but the twist that’s supposed to send a chill down the spine isn’t much of a twist at all. The crux of the movie is that the Man (Robert Scott Howard) looks through the keyhole of a forbidden hotel room, firstly to see a ghostly white woman, and then a second time to see something unexplained and red up against the hole.
At the end of the film, the hotel clerk reveals that the red object was the eye of a murdered woman. The problem is, we’ve already seen the ghost on the first peek. The tension has been broken: there’s a ghost in there, we’ve just seen it. The fact the ghost has red eyes is absolutely secondary to the fact a ghost is there at all. If you’ve seen a ghost, you’re not worried about what colour its pupils are.
The second, frankly baffling thing, is that the clerk tells us that the couple who used that haunted room had white skin and red eyes when they checked in, so that was before they died. Instead of invoking fear it can only elicit a “what?”. Then the film leaves it there, as though just saying some people had white skin and red eyes doesn’t need to be explained. It does. People don’t just have white skin and red eyes. White with Red fails on the most basic horror mechanics of tension and reveal by getting them completely backwards.
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