The Movie Waffler New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - THE BAYLOCK RESIDENCE | The Movie Waffler


the baylock residence review
In 1940s England, a woman inherits a house with a dark secret.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Anthony M. Winson

Starring: Kelly Goudie, Sarah Wynne Kordas, Lindsay Foster, Karen Henson

the baylock residence poster

It's England 1944. A woman, Mrs Susanna Baylock, sits on her bed crying; she sobs the name “Patricia” while clutching a photograph in her hands.

Downstairs, Annabel, ‘the help’, is doing laundry out in the yard before she discovers Mrs Baylock dead on the stairs.

All of this establishing information is almost completely swallowed up by the overbearing musical score.

Four months later and people are seen huddling in the streets after an airstrike; Mrs Woodhouse makes her tentative way through them to the Baylock home. She is the sister of the late mistress of the house and is informed by Annabel that the house has been left to her (shouldn’t a solicitor do that??) She also informs her that her sister’s husband literally vanished one night, hence why the house has been left to her, Susanna Baylock’s only living relative.

the baylock residence review
Mrs Woodhouse (Patricia) is shocked to find out that her sister had suffered multiple sclerosis for the previous three years, “If it’s any consolation,” says Annabel “she was very happy.” Though ready to leave as she feels superfluous with her mistress gone, Patricia convinces Annabel to stay on as her live-in housekeeper.

However, as soon as she is ensconced in the residence, Patricia finds herself tormented by bad dreams of being shot and killed. The house seems to excel in Creepy House Noises like knocking and creaking, which all just adds to the women’s discomfort, and Patricia would find herself convincing Annabel to stay more than just that initial time.

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The troubled history between Susanna and Patricia is explored and it's explained that they became distant because husband Victor was showing interest in his sister-in-law 15 years ago. This caused Susanna to ask Patricia to leave her life “for her own good.” Now that Victor is missing, everyone is saying “good riddance.”

the baylock residence review
A secretive locked attic and some library research into the home’s history could be the key to what’s terrifying Patricia and Annabel.

Once the happenings worsen and the two women share their stories, it seems Patricia had come to the house under false impressions. There’s a mystery in this home, and though frightened, they vow to stay and solve it.

This period drama/horror is a remake of writer/director Anthony M Winson's earlier 2014 version The Haunting of Baylock Residence, which was set in the ‘70s, and was reportedly made on a 50 pound budget. Having not seen his earlier iteration, I can't comment on how they compare, but the direction in this version is competent enough, though perhaps too liberal with the usually unsuccessful jump scares.

[ READ MORE: New Release Review - Gemini Man ]

The script is somewhat slow and a little muddier than it needs to be. Ultimately, it devolves into shrieking and running about the rooms of the house at the end, which is hard to watch in its shrillness.

The soundtrack seems more in keeping with a kitchen sink drama rather than a horror.

the baylock residence review
Some choices here seem wrong-headed too - there’s a scene where Patricia is reading the back history of The Baylock House, a large chunk of exposition right there and important to the ongoing story, however the reverberations that they choose to use on the voiceover to make it sound spooky renders it almost impossible to hear what she’s actually saying.

The period detail is ok but doesn’t go quite far enough, which is likely a budgetary issue. The flashbacks in particular seem more like gatecrashing a fancy dress themed party rather than events actually taking place in that time period.

There are exceptionally committed performances here, particularly from Kelly Goudie as Patricia and Sarah Wynne Kordas as Annabel, but unfortunately these are not quite enough to make this a film I’d recommend.

The Baylock Residence is on DVD/VOD now.

2019 movie reviews