A red balloon plays a pivotal part of “The Luring.”
About an hour in, a stilt-walking clown shows up.
And then there’s the whole boyfriend with a “past” who goes “Shining” nuts on his girlfriend the longer they stay in his family’s remote Vermont vacation home.
You know what they say, “Steal from one, you’re a plagiarist. Steal from many, you’re a genius. Or ‘Star Wars’ composer John Williams.”
“The Luring” owes a bit to Stephen King — lots of bits. But writer-director Christoper Welles doesn’t grab enough of King’s horror leftovers to make a meal. Still, when you get bored — and you will — the “borrowings” will stand out and sort of accumulate in your mind.
We’re introduced to a house with “a history” when a couple and their little boy are shown it by a realtor (Daniel Marin Berkley) who doesn’t totally creep them out with his story of a kid who “hung himself” there. And then, another hanging keeps him from closing the sale.
Years later, here’s Garrett (Rick Irwin) on the couch, consulting a shrink about his “dissociative amnesia.” It happened when he was a child, got him institutionalized for a bit, and it connects to a birthday party he had in that house when he was ten.
The only thing for it is for Garrett and girlfriend Claire (Michaela Sprague) to head up there, spend a weekend and see what jars loose.
But the weirdness isn’t noises and what not. There’s a twisted woman (Molly Fahey) who likes vamping it up, skulking about in masks and speaking in ominous rhymed riddles.
“We’ll dance under the wind while our souls are cremated with lies and goodbyes.”
That there, folks, is some seriously silly screenwriting.
The bowling alley guy’s “Lane 13, so mean. Last breath under dark trees of green” suggests The Bad Poet’s Society meets there on Thursdays.
Claire seems supportive, if a trifle on the Pollyanna side. She’s the one who gripes “There’s something IN this house!”
Garrett? He’s a bit of jerk. And seeing him in flashbacks at that long-age birthday party we get a clue that he’s always been this way.
There are a couple of decent chills in this no-budget thriller. Fahey has a little fun with her psycho-rhymer, and we’re reminded that children can be the cruelest creatures of all.
Aside from those, we just watch that red balloon, half-expecting Pennywise to make an appearance.
But this is Vermont, not Maine. And Mr. Wells isn’t Mr. King.
MPAA Rating: unrated, violence, profanity
Cast: Rick Irwin, Molly Fahey, Michaela Sprague and Daniel Marin Berkley
Credits: Written and directed by Christopher Wells. A Wild Eye release.
Running time: 1:31