For the 100th edition of their popular TV show "Ghost Trackers", a team of paranormal investigators visit the notorious Hillcrest Sanatorium where a bloody massacre once took place. They venture into the bowels of the abandoned hospital to investigate claims of disembodied voices, ghostly apparitions and incidents of missing children that have made Hillcrest infamous. What they discover there is far worse than anything they could ever have imagined, and as they go deeper into the building they start to realize they may never get out alive.
The usual collection of smart young hot-heads are embarking on a paranormal investigation for this found footage horror, visiting ‘the infamous Hillcrest Sanatorium’.
DJ Hazard plays Irwin Stacks, whose job it is to lead the entrepreneurs through the impressively sinister building and regale them (and us) with sinister stories as to what happened over the years, culminating the deaths of an estimated thousand people. The team’s frivolities and high spirits are mercifully calmed by this, as well as their eagerness to persevere (“Let’s get the **** out of here,” is a popular viewpoint).
Tuberculosis claimed the health and sanity of patient ‘Richard’ in 1955 who took his own life after bludgeoning to death three sleeping children. It is about this time that ‘Sanatorium’ begins to weave its sinister magic, which proves to me once gain that ‘found footage’ should not be maligned as a spent force in film-making – used with skill, it still packs a punch.
The over-insistence of one of the male characters in asking ‘are you kidding me?’ gets more than a little tiresome. As the usual scares reach a certain stage and one of their team, Tyler, goes missing in a quietly creepy episode, and his newly pregnant girlfriend descends into uncomprehending despair, it’s increasingly clear no-one is kidding anyone.
The resultant fate of the characters is very nicely achieved, although it might have been more effective had the producers resisted the temptation to add swirling ‘spooky’ music to highlight the effect. The POV shots of them slowly being slowly raised to the ceiling, where they are left dangling, is terrific.