THEY WAIT Directed by Ernie Barbarash. 89 minutes. Opens Friday (January 25). Rating: N
Take every spook story cliché that’s been recycled from The Shining to The Ring, clumsily mash them up with some ancient Chinese folklore and then throw in the scariest thing of all, a credit to hack director Uwe Boll (BloodRayne, In The Name Of The King) as executive producer, and you have They Wait.
In Canada’s latest stab at horror, Jaime King (Sin City) plays Sarah, who has married into a Chinese family and moved to Shanghai on account of her husband’s (Terry Chen) career. A death in his family has Sarah returning home to the Pacific Northwest (the movie’s awkward locution for Vancouver) to visit the in-laws during a festival known as Ghost Month.
The stage is set for some ancestral skeletons to quite literally come out of the closet, stalking Sarah and her son Sam (Regan Oey) at every predictable blind spot. When young Sam eerily channels Haley Joel Osment and begins to see dead people, Sarah seeks the guidance of typical mystical Old Wise Man Henry O on how to deal with angry spirits.
The stale-dated demon CGI, banal dialogue and obvious reliance on horror movie conventions make They Wait more laughable than petrifying. You won’t want to wait for it to be over.