The Manson family murders sent resounding shock waves throughout both normal life in the late 1960s and for the Hollywood elites, one can only imagine how many calls went out to security firms over those following days. Since then, it led to the horrific best seller and countless movies, throughout the decades, some that were good and others a wretched mess among them Helter Skelter [1976] and The Haunting of Sharon Tate [2019]. Although, regardless in most films, this single act is still disturbing the rawness of violence, now conveyed in a version of torture porn committed to Sharon Tate’s murder.  Therefore, this brings us, to the filmmakers of this production director John R. Leonetti who reteamed with screenwriter Gary Dauberman who worked on Annabelle [2014], using the backdrop of The Summer of Love cultural themes in the official description during 1969, one slight problem that aspect occurred in 1967, oops. Aside from that issue others exist, but nevertheless the movie achieved distribution from New Line Cinema in 2017, serving as a home invasion, a rightfully significant place, and style takes cues from The Strangers [2008].

Right from the beginning the suspense is squandered, instead of informing the audience of the day of the massacre one is only given the year, this minor oversight worked on allowing for a creeping sense of doom, a countdown in other words. Nevertheless, it starts with a home invasion at a very high-class estate, given way to the audiences knowing about home invasions and how the perpetrators were upping the ante in terrorizing homeowners. The film transitions to four friends, mentioned by their first names (shameful not to include their last names, they were real individuals, therefore I properly identified them) have a goodbye party for heiress Abigail Folger (Elizabeth Henstridge (The Thompsons [2012])), her parents to cut-her off from the family fortune, shocking fruition that it’s a final farewell.  They all return to a lonely stretch of road heading to a private home in the Hollywood Hills, once there the meet Steven Parent (Lucas Adams) who is looking for property, and caretaker William Garretson (Spencer Daniels), as he’s delivering stereo equipment. Meanwhile the four friends engage in a little light partying, as the intruders make their way onto the grounds. Steven’s murder implied a smashing end-of-life via a sledgehammer, though done off-screen and not at all to the actual way he was murdered. Wojciech Frykowski (Adam Campbell) was shown to be strolling the grounds, thinking about the end of his relationship with Abigail, later running from the Tex Watson and stabbed outside by someone else, none of that happened in that manner or order, but oh well, when you have the facts just rewrite them. The real-life scene was horrendous, and recreating would likely equal Hostel [2005] torture porn. We once again witness more from sound alone the horrific stabbing of Jay Sebring (Miles Fisher) on a couch, alas once again that didn’t happen that way, and it would’ve been Wojciech to have that encounter, but why let those important crime reports interfere with the lame storyline invented for this flick. One never actually sees what happened to Sharon Tate (portrayed nicely by Katie Cassidy), which might be a respectful attribute to the overall film. The filmed stayed true to using the Manson phrase “do something witchy” hence writing “pig” on the front door and include Sharon’s “Please don’t kill my baby.” In the end it concludes with crime scene photos none which match what audience saw and some testimony from the Manson family.

First, acknowledging that the film is a scant 73-minutes long, one may conceive there’s something wrong within the story, sorry to disappoint, the move is quite sluggish, while generating exceptional characters, allowing them all to have depth which is refreshing. Nevertheless, it lacks in the powerful motivation of capturing the audience’s attention with violence and bloodshed, as if avoiding the well-known sensations of these true crimes. Then the ridiculousness that occurs from a fight sequence, that loses all connection with the thrilling moments of tensions generated; especially when the movie actually has crime photos to refer to at moment. The lack of dialogue is very puzzling, the friends, seem more isolated than earlier in the night, and villains, here referred as referred as wolves accompanied by a nice tie-in with the song “Lil’ Red Riding Hood”, never speak outside the silence in stalking their prey. It likely sounded promising in the script but never transferred correctly to the screen, hence losing any gloom from the shadowy killers.

However, even with all of that potential it presents a dull storyline, that makes it less than horror and light substantial thriller. Sadly, the entire production faulters badly, from the beginning with the title card error to the conclusion, it’s one thing when the movie claims inspired by true events, to base on true events, especially when overlooked by both people actually involved, the crime scene photos and the investigation records/interviews, it’s all presented for the filmmakers to use not to ignore. The subject material is thoroughly unsettling, brutal and can easily show that some people are fearful and isolate from society even in their own homes in a neighborhood.

Tagline: When night falls…. the wolves will hunt

IMDb Rating: 4.5/10

Baron’s Rating: 4.0/10