A Magnificent Haunting Movie Review

Written by Simon Bland

DVD released by Peccadillo Pictures

Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek
Written by Ferzan Ozpetek & Federica Pontremoli
2012, 105 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 11th November 2013

Elio Germano as Pietro
Margherita Buy as Lea Marni
Vittoria Puccini as Beatrice Marni
Beppe Fiorello as Filippo Apollonio
Paola Minaccioni as Maria
Cem Yilmaz as Yusef Antep



It shouldn’t be too out-there to assume that most of you lovely readers visit this site to help you make an informed decision whenever you want to be scared. After all, as one of the most overly saturated genres, it can be more than a little tricky deciding which horror movies are worth both your time and your hard earned cash. With this in mind, we’d probably be doing you a disservice if we pointed you in the wrong direction or mislead you in any way, hoodwinking readers into thinking they’re getting a little more scare for their buck than they actually are. This whole subject is worth talking about because we get sent a lot of different movies to review here at Horror DNA and while the vast majority of them certainly fall into the category of horror, there are the odd few that exist on the outskirts of the scary spectrum. A Magnificent Haunting is one such movie.

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Directed by Italian filmmaker Ferzan Ozpetek, this tame tale of a suburban haunting does a good job of showing what it might look like if Richard Curtis took a stab at horror. We follow Pietro, a rather complex yet quiet 28-year-old who spends his days chasing his dream acting job and his nights making croissants at a local bakery. Upon moving in to his idyllic new city home he quickly discovers that while he’s the one paying rent, he’s not the only resident living with the apartment walls. After a few jumpy first encounters we’re formally introduced to a 40s-esque family unit and acting troupe left over from war-time Europe who have some unfinished business. Once the initial jitters pass, Pietro discovers he can learn a thing of two about acting from these stage loving spectres. However, as he finds out more and more about the family’s espionage-laced past, his intrigue as to why they’re here in the first place soon takes over.

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Ozpetek’s A Magnificent Haunting is a tricky one to review here. Strictly speaking, it is a ghost story and does deal with the supernatural. However if you’re reading this review because you’re looking for a fright, this Italian ghostie-drama is about as genuinely scary as Casper The Friendly Ghost. That’s not to say it’s without substance, there’s actually quite a lot going on here. Pietro’s hinted-at psychological problems, his innocently over the top relationship quirks and unrealised goal of becoming an actor are all overshadowed as the movie moves into its third act, shifting focus from our troubled protagonist onto his adoptive ghost family. This narrative flip is a little jarring, leaving plenty of Pietro loose ends in favor of the bigger picture however as the credits roll, you can’t help but feel that there’s some deeper meaning to be found here. Is this good fodder for a scary night in with the mates? Not at all. But that doesn’t mean it’s worth avoiding altogether.

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Video, Audio and Special Features:

Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.


Movie: Grade a-magnificent-haunting-small
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