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Some things are worse than ghosts.

Cast | Interviews | Notes | Pictures | Soundtrack | Summary - Official | My Summary | My Review

Cast

Character Actor
Dr. Clive Werner, Ph.D Malcolm McDowell
Meg Russell Megan Gallagher
Brad Russell Eric Lutes
Gina Russell Sofia Vassilieva
Tyler Russell Greg Cipes
Iver Hagen Peter Looney
Olivia Hagen Patricia McCormack
Ms. Montane Rosalind Chao
Nurse Wilson Robert Joseph
Mr. Kelley Patrick O'Brien
Mr. Stevenson James Otis
Huldre (King) Michael A. Munoz
Huldre Selwyn Miller
Huldre Joseph Childs
Huldre Steve Carter
Huldre Joseph Griffo
Huldre Lori Mellman
Huldre Mario Munoz
Huldre Eugene Pidgeon
Huldre Donna Russo
Huldre Michelle Shore

Directed by Kelly Sandefur
Written by Rick Drew

Interviews

9/29/03 Exclusive Interview with Rick Drew the screenwriter
10/12/03 Exclusive Interview with Kelly Sandefur the director

Notes

Pictures

Behind The Scenes
Sofia with clapboard
Malcolm with Sofia and Megan
Malcolm and Sofia sitting at a desk
Malcolm and Sofia sitting at a desk 2
Malcolm reading the script
Malcolm directed by Kelly

Malcolm, Meg and Sofia

Malcolm and Sofia rehearsing at the family house

Movie
Malcolm's Screen Credit
Dr. Werner makes his entrance

Dr. Werner goes to visit with Olivia
Dr. Werner listening to Gina's story.
Dr. Werner at his desk in his office explaining to Meg
Dr. Werner comparing the fairy drawings
Dr. Werner sitting on a couch with Olivia
Dr. Werner examining Gina's gifts from the fairies
Lucky Charms Box in the kitchen
Dr. Werner at Russell's drinking coffee
Dr. Warner back at the office and not amused
Dr. Werner is not happy that Olivia is missing from the hospital
Dr. Werner confronting Brad at his house

Dr. Werner's book - front and back
Dr. Werner looking through the broken window on his car
Dr. Werner in the hospital at the end

Memorabilia
DVD Sell Sheet

Soundtrack

"Sterile" + "Fallen"
Written by Drist
Two Car Garage Music - BMI
Drist recordings courtesy of Spin Out Records
"Ajutor"
Written by Mihal Campineau
Performed by Susie Paparude
Published by Media Services Romania - BMI

Summary - Official

    Meg Russell (Megan Gallagher) and her family have finally moved into their dream home, complete with a tiny playhouse in the backyard–perfect for her imaginative young daughter, Gina (Sofia Vassilieva). When unexplainable events begin happening around the house–broken dolls, a dead cat, an accident involving brother Tyler (Greg Cipes) and strange sounds in the night–Gina blames the “fairies,” little creatures who spend time with her in the playhouse.
    A mysterious handyman Iver Hagen (Peter Looney) hired to fix up the house seems to know something about these “fairies” which are known as the Huldre, ancient trolls who live underground. Iver warns Meg that the Huldre are real and may be after her daughter, Gina.
    Despite Iver’s omen, the Russells are skeptical of the Huldre and worry Gina may be responsible for the strange occurrences around the house. They seek the help of child psychiatrist Dr. Clive Werner (Malcolm McDowell) to help Gina separate fantasy from reality. Dr. Werner makes a connection between Gina’s fairytales and the story of another patient, Olivia Hagen (Patty McCormack). Olivia, sister of handyman Iver, lived in the Russell house in the Fifties and, like Gina, befriended the Huldre before the vicious trolls killed her parents and attempted to burn the house down.
    When Iver turns up dead in their yard, Meg can no longer ignore the threat of the evil Huldre. The Russell family band together and, along with the help of Olivia, make one final stand against the Huldre to keep their home from becoming…inhabited.

My Summary

    The film opens with drawings from Grimm's fairy tales. A family has just moved into a giant old Victorian house. Meg, the mother, is unpacking when she suddenly starts looking for her daughter Gina. In the backyard there is an old small playhouse that is built like a real house. It is wooden, has a roof, windows, fireplace - the whole nine yards. Meg goes there to look for Gina, but doesn't find her. Soon she realizes her daughter isn't anywhere to be found. When her husband Brad comes home she is very worried, but then Gina suddenly runs out of the playhouse and the father laughs. Meg isn't happy she tricked her. They go inside, but we see a glimpse of something evil in the playhouse - the face of a small troll like creature called the Huldre.
    Their son Tyler is inside trying to cook a frozen dinner with little success and then declares he isn't hungry. He says he is going out they tell him to be back at nine. The three sit down dinner and Gina wants to take a cookie out to her fairy friends. Meg objects at first, but then lets her go. At bedtime Meg reads Gina a fairy tale about troll and Gina isn't sure what a troll is. Meg shows her a picture and wonders if that is what the fairies look like.
    Meg hears a noise and thinks it is their cat Simon outside and she once again goes to the playhouse, but doesn't find the cat. Instead she finds one of Gina's dolls decapitated with a stick through it's head. She then gets a scare when Tyler comes back home late. When she presses him he admits he went to choir practice because he was trying to impress a girl. Meg confronts him about damaging the doll, but he denies it.
    The next day Meg is trying to put up a plant hanger outside when she is scared by Ivar Hagan. She has put an ad in the paper for a handyman and figures that is why he is there. She takes him around the house and yard to show him what is wrong and what she wants repaired. Some things a little at a time because they can't afford them all at once. In the attic she shows him where there was fire damage and he tells her it happened in the 50s and that some houses hang on to things. She says like ghosts? He says, "There are some things worse than ghosts."
    The next day Meg goes to pick up Gina from school and the teacher, Ms. Montane, wants to have a word with her. She feels Gina is taking too long to fit in and is not relating to the other kids. She gives her a psychology book by Dr. Werner, a local doctor, who has been helpful to other kids. Meg doesn't really accept that there is a problem.
    Meg tells Brad about it and he is open to the idea of getting help for Gina, but Meg still won't accept it.
    At the County Memorial Psychological Hospital  Dr. Werner is doing his rounds and goes over to visit with a patient. She is Olivia and is madly drawing a picture. Nurse Wilson, who is a large black man, says it is the same old thing, but Dr. Werner says it isn't and wants the drawing for his collection. She shows little emotion and doesn't talk. We see the picture is of the evil fairies Gina has met.
    Meg is on her way out and Hagan is working on a window. She hasn't hired him, yet he is there working anyway. He tells her she needs the help and he needs the work and if she doesn't like his work she can fire him. She relents and goes to the store to get some paint. She asks Jim Kelley at Kelley's Paint & Hardware if he knows about the fire at her house. He doesn't, but recommends old man Stevenson because he used to be a fireman. He admits he is a bit weird and probably won't talk to her, but she's willing to try.
    Back at home Tyler is on the phone with a friend and Hagan is watching him, so he goes inside. Hagan hears something in the bushes and goes to check it out, but it is only the cat. When he goes back to his work he finds his screwdriver is missing.
    Meg goes to Stevenson's house and he won't come to the door and yells at her to go away. She tells him what she wants and he says to write down the address and stick it through the mail slot. Meg asks him to call her with the info. We see through the window that he isn't doing well and requires oxygen.
     Hagan is working in the backyard this time and hears a sound in the playhouse. Gina is in there and tells him the fairies don't like him and he asks her if she has invited the fairies into her house and she admits she has. He tells her that was a mistake and if she ignores them from now on they might leave her alone. Tyler shows up and tells her to go inside and for Hagan to go back to work and leave her alone. Hagan says that is what a brother should do, look out for her sister. When he gets back to work he finds his boxcutter is gone.
    That night when Brad gets home Meg tries to get him to hang up a picture and he admits he hates moving. Then they argue about Gina and Tyler comes in. He says Hagan is a freak and tells them about how he stopped Hagan from talking to Gina. Brad is upset that Meg wasn't around to stop it herself.
    Tyler goes up to his room and lays on the bed and listens to some music. Something grabs his foot from under the bed and scares the crap out of him. It is Gina who is upset about him making fun of the fairies. He kicks her out and goes back to listening to music and reading a comic book. He then goes online to cooljet.com when a jar of pennies on his shelf starts to move and crashes down on his keyboard exploding everywhere. Flying glass cuts his head and his parents come running up. Tyler accuses Gina of trying to kill him and she says the fairies did it, not her.
    The next day Gina is taken in to see Dr. Werner. He wants to know all about the fairies including how they look. He gives her paper to draw them and then takes her mother next door. Meg wants to know what is wrong and he tells her it isn't a medical problem. It is more mental. People who lose themselves in fantasy have trouble coping, fitting in or dealing with change. He feels it all began when they moved. She says it was all a silly game, but she now blames everything on the fairies. He tells her about Grimm's fairy tales - the original, more brutal ones. He says Gina may feel lost and powerless because of the move - like Hansel & Gretel. He says it wasn't wrong by encouraging her because it would've only repressed her. Werner tells her she did the right thing by bringing her to him.
    They go back into the room and look at the picture she made. Dr. Werner is shaken because it is  like the picture Olivia made. He asks how many fairies there are and then says that is enough for today and to come back and see him again.
    While returning home with some groceries Meg gets a phone call from the newspaper apologizing for not running her handyman ad. She is upset since Hagan showed up for an ad that was never placed. Hagan is working out front and she is mad at him for deceiving her. He says he was driving by and thought she looked like she could use the help. She thinks about firing him, but he says that wouldn't help as they need each other. He asks about Gina seeing the little folk, but she tells him that isn't his business.
    Meg goes downstairs to do the laundry and is scared by Hagan. He says he needs to check the pipes. She asks him what he meant about things worse than ghosts. He tells her his family is from Norway and explains her about the Huldre - the underground people. He says there is no place for them on Earth except in the dark and the dirt. She says that is just a fairy tale. He asks her where does she think fairy tales come from? It is because we don't want to believe some things are true. She gets scared by this and he is glad.
    Simon is in the yard and the Huldre want him. They put a bird on a string to lure him into the bushes and kill him with the boxcutter. Gina is inside by his food bowl waiting for him. Meg tells her not to worry, but Gina says he isn't coming back because she told about the fairies and they said they would hurt Simon if she told. Meg wants to know what happened to Simon, but Gina won't tell and runs to her room. She is mad Gina won't talk to her and Brad tells her not to worry and to let the doctor handle it.
    Dr. Werner is amazed at how close the fairy pictures look that Gina and Olivia made when he analyzes them in his office. Meanwhile Brad goes downstairs to get something to drink and sees the cat bowl is empty. He goes outside to look for Simon, but can't find him. He hears something in the playhouse and goes and checks and gets bitten in the leg. He couldn't see so doesn't know what bit him.
    Meg goes up to check on Gina and finds her jewelry box with the dancing ballerina is missing and that the bedroom window is wide open and she closes it. Then she hears a voice and sees glowing red eyes in the closet. It is a toy robot that has turned itself on. She turns it off and finds that Gina's window is open once again. Now she is worried and has Gina sleep with them that night. She reads more of Dr. Werner's book and starts to realize that the person in the book is saying the same things about the fairies that Gina does.
    Back at the hospital Dr. Werner goes over to talk to Olivia and see if  her brother has arrived yet. He hasn't and the doctor wants to know if she has shown her drawings to anyone. She says she hasn't. He goes when her brother shows up for his weekly visit. The brother is Ivar Hagan.
    Tyler wanted some money so Meg has him steaming the wallpaper and scraping it off which he isn't liking very much. She asks what he'll do with the money, a date maybe? He ignores her and says the girls' name is Amber and that's all he'll say. Meg asks him if he took her mother's jewelry box that she gave to Gina, but he says he didn't do it. The phone rings and Meg goes off to get answer it. It is Stevenson, so she runs off to see him. Tyler doesn't notice, but he peeled off wallpaper that revealed a fairy drawing on the wall.
    Outside Hagan stops Meg, but she is in a hurry. He tells her it is important. He shows her Simon's carcass in the bushes. She wants to know if an animal killed him, but he tells her the cat was butchered. Ivar tells her it was the little folk and they are after the girl. Gina is the first child to live in the house since the fire. He tires to warn her, but she doesn't want to hear it and fires him. He tells him to bury the cat before he leaves.
    She arrives at Stevenson's junk strewn house and rings the bell, but finds the door is open and walks in. She finds him sucking on oxygen and he tells her the door was a long trip. He doesn't get out or even move around much since a chemical fire in 1978. He shows her his filing system which consists of cutting out articles on fires and taping them to the walls. She asks if he found out anything and he points her a section on the wall. It was March 6, 1955 when the fire occurred. He was a ladder man on the fire. The parents were tied to their bed and set on fire. Everyone thought their young daughter did it, but he never did.
    Back at the house Hagan is screwing the door to the playhouse shut and Tyler asks what he is up to. He tells him about the fairies and that they are real. Tyler thinks he is nuts.
    Stevenson tells Meg they found the girl huddled up in a ball in the playhouse and the girls' older brother was out of town. Stevenson thought the boy did it, but the cops said he had an airtight alibi.
    Hagan is upset Tyler won't listen to him. He tries again to warn him, but Tyler goes back in the house. The Huldre set up a trip rope and he falls on his screwdriver they shoved through up through the ground. It goes right into his heart and he dies soon after.
    Tyler goes back up to his room and listens to music on his headphones. Meg comes up to talk to him about Ivar. She tells him it was an accident, but he doesn't want to talk about it. She goes downstairs and hears a scream from Gina. She finds her in the playhouse crying because she doesn't want to play with the fairies anymore because they hurt Simon and the handyman.
    Brad says they need to take her back to the doctor, but she won't listen. She says Gina wouldn't hurt anyone, but he just doesn't accept her fairy defense. She wants them out of the house and he thinks a vacation would be a good idea. She means that they need to sell the house and get away. He says it is impossible since they put all the money they had into the house. She is serious about his. He knows she is, but won't do it until she talks to Dr. Werner again.
    The next day the doctor comes to the house. Gina shows him her toys and he asks her about her other friends - the fairies. He knows they have been bad and he tells her he believes her. He explains when he was a boy he believed in fairy tales because he never thought his mother would lie to him. He learned the fairies were tricky. Gina says they used to be fun and just play games like hide and seek. He asks if they ever gave her anything or traded items. She opens up a little pocket book and dumps out a locket, some gems, a key and rope.
    Dr. Werner goes downstairs and talks to the parents. He feels the death of the handyman has exacerbated everything. Brad wants to know if she is like the girl in his book and if they should move her. He explains she is fighting for control with the fairies and it is imperative that they stay in the house. Brad wonders if she did something dangerous. Meg says she is not dangerous. The doctor says he wouldn't compare him to the girl in his book. Meg and Brad argue, but the doctor takes both of their sides. He recommends professional help or she may never come back to reality.
    Tyler sees the doctor leave while he is mowing the lawn and wonders what is going on. Meg is pouring over the article on the house fire and looks at the locket when she hears strange sounds. She looks around and listens on the floor.
    Tyler is making a sandwich the next morning and Brad thinks it is for him. He says he doesn't need one anyway and tells him he's taking them to school. Tyler asks what is going on with mom, but he doesn't say much. Then his dad tells him he'll pick them up for school too and then they leave in his vehicle.
    Meg is still in bed and picks up Dr. Werner's book again. It is titled "The Inner Fantasy: Myth and Fairy tales in Early Childhood Development." She thumbs through it and finds a picture of a young Olivia wearing the locket that Gina had gotten from the fairies.
    Meg storms right into Dr. Werner's office while he is with his assistant. She throws his book down and he dismisses the assistant. She confronts him that the Helen Smith in his book is really Olivia Hagan and he knew everything about the fact they lived in her house and the same thing happened to her. Why didn't he tell her when he knew everything? He says it was professional judgment because Olivia and Gina are vulnerable. They both have the same problems from living in the same house. He says it is an unprecedented chance to link two cases of psychological disorder together by environmental stimuli. It will be his greatest breakthrough. He'll even wave his fee. She wants to know what if the fairies are real. He can't believe that Meg is now sharing the psychosis of her child. She tells him he is dangerous and leaves.
    Meg goes to the mental hospital to see Olivia by saying to the nurse she knew her brother. Meg gives her the necklace Gina had and Olivia shows her how to open it. There is a picture of her and her parents in it. Meg says she knows she didn't kill them and she isn't crazy.
    Meg comes home with Olivia. Brad is glad to see she is OK, but isn't sure about having Olivia there. Tyler is in the back on the phone with Amber when he hears something strange in the bushes. He hits the bushes with a rake, but gets attacked and cut on the leg by something unknown.
    Back inside Gina takes Olivia to the picture of the fairy on the wall upstairs. Olivia explains the picture is the king and she should stay away from him. Tyler comes back in and tells his parents about the attack.
    Dr. Werner goes to get Olivia's chart and finds out that she has disappeared. The nurse says she was last seen with Meg. He tells him to call security and leaves. Dr. Werner pulls up to the Russell's house and demands to come in and get his patient back. Brad won't let him in though. The doctor can't believe that Brad believes there are fairies too and laughs at him. Brad thinks it makes more sense than his theories. The doctor leaves and promises to bring back the police. Meg asks Brad if he believes in the fairies. He says he believes in her. He tells her they have 10 minutes to pack and leave.
    The doctor gets in his car, puts his seatbelt on, locks the door and cuts his finger on a piece of glass on the seat. Someone has broken his window and he thinks it's just hoodlums. Instead it is the Huldre who are in the backseat and attack him.
    Olivia asks Meg if they took her brother because she felt it when he was gone. Gina is worried the fairies will follow them when they leave, but Tyler says he'll take care of it. Brad says to just take what they need and Tyler goes to his room to pack. He puts CDs in his bag and turns the stereo up. When he stands on the bed to take down a poster a rope goes around his leg and pulls him down, soon his legs and arms are tied to the bed and he is trapped. He yells for help, but no one can hear him over the music.
    Gina hears the sound of her jewelry box ballerina and goes to look for it. She keeps looking by heading outside and eventually finds in outside in the playhouse. When she goes out the Huldre are climbing up the house and boarding the windows. Gina is grabbed and screams. Meg packs and finds the windows boarded up. A dresser is then pushed into Brad, pinning him against the door. They lasso Meg's leg and he gets free to stop them. Olivia rushes Tyler with a knife and he thinks he's dead, but she cuts him loose.
    They go to the front door, but it is nailed shut. Meg asks Olivia how she escaped when she was a kid. She leads them down to the basement where there is a tunnel in the wall. Tyler smells smoke and finds out they are burning the house down. They move a shelf out of the way and go into the tunnel which is really a maze of tunnels under the yard and they can hear Gina screaming. They split up to locate her and Meg finds her tied up like a fly in a spider web. Tyler sees the Huldre behind them and frantically crawls through some underbrush. Olivia finds Meg then so does Brad. He asks Olivia how she escaped and she looks up. They are under the floor of the playhouse and he breaks the boards and goes back for Tyler.
    They all climb up and out of the playhouse to find the house engulfed in flames. Dozens of Huldre are massing in the tunnels screaming. Meg finds a can of gasoline and Brad makes a Molotov cocktail out of it and throws it into the playhouse. After a few seconds it explodes the playhouse completely. Olivia tells them they got what they wanted and they lost everything. Not true, because they are still alive.

Six Months Later:
    The nurse brings meds to a patient. It is Dr. Werner who is now in same the hospital where he used to work and he is frantically drawing fairy pictures just like Olivia did.

My Review

    First of all this is not a straight horror movie. With the addition of Dr. Werner there is a whole psychological aspect that adds weight to the film. Without him it would just be the monsters versus the family and even then there is absolutely no blood or gore. The interesting thing is the mother doesn't believe and the father is willing to believe which gives Dr. Werner an opening. Werner doesn't believe either, but thinks if he can prove a psychological link to the environment stimuli of two people over 50 years apart it will be he greatest work. 
    This makes it interesting. The only thing is that WE know the fairies are real, it would've been more suspenseful if they held back on showing the fairies to make us wonder if Gina was just bad and doing these things on her own and blaming the fairies to get out of it.
    If you are worried that this is another Fairy King of Ar, well there is nothing to worry about. In that film Malcolm's character knew the fairies were real, but thought they were evil, even though they were good. Here Dr. Werner doesn't believe in them and they are evil. While both groups lived underground in the backyard of a family that just moved in and both families have a boy and a girl and both girls are the first ones to contact the fairies, in Fairy King they are trapped, here they roam freely. Both films have an older handyman that knows the truth, but are considered scary. It is almost a complete reversal.
    The mother isn't typical, she's not some hot young babe, she is older and meatier. She is like you would expect as a mother, she loves and wants to protect her kids, but when it comes down to professional help, she balks. In the end she does start to believe and wants out.
    The father isn't really present and is given nothing to do except not let Dr. Werner in the house near the end and seal his doom. He is really bland and the only reason for him was to bring the doctor into the picture in the first place.
    The effects here are pretty good. The Huldre are filmed from separate angles so that they don't look awful next to the people. They are so evil looking though that it seems impossible to believe a child would think they were good though. These don't look like butterflies, leprechauns or Tinkerbell. They look demonic. 
    There was a goof was when Tyler had a nice cut on his head after the penny jar fell, but it seems to have disappeared for the rest of the film. It also made no sense that they were supposed to hurry up and pack and Tyler is wasting time pulling a poster off the wall which gets him captured.
    I'm always glad to see Malcolm's characters not get killed because that means we get to see them the whole movie. This time I found it a bit hard to believe that everyone else who was attacked was killed. Ivar fell on a screwdriver and died instantly. Simon the cat was sliced and killed, yet a whole pack of Huldre attack Werner in close quarters and he isn't even close to being killed?
    It is amazing at how easily Malcolm slips into the kindly doctor role here. He might've missed his calling. Who wouldn't like to have Dr. McDowell as their physician? He plays it close to the hip and seems kind and generous. It is only when Brad won't let him in that we see he has a bit of a dark side and is it becomes obvious he is using these people to advance his own causes or fame. It seems a bit of a stretch that he thinks the house could cause the same delusion in children over 50 years apart. How did he come up with that conclusion? I would've like to have heard a bit more along that path even keeping the father on his side all the way through. Overall this isn't a "Malcolm Movie" even though he has top billing, it is about the family. You have to go in thinking this is a low budget thriller and they made the best of what they had and they did a good job. There isn't really anything groundbreaking story wise, but it is short and sweet, the characters are believable and sympathetic.
    If you can get a hold of it - do it. It is worth seeing and is a fun little film. They do try some typical scare tactics like a cat jumping out of a box or the bushes a couple times to no effect. It isn't scary and it isn't horror unless you are very young and then you should get a kick out of it. It would be a good little movie to watch with the family for Halloween as there is nothing graphic too bother the kids except for Ivar getting impaled which is shown from above.

Rating: 8/10

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