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The Legend Of Lucy Keyes
cast: Julie Delpy, Justin Theroux, Brooke Adams, Mark Boone Jr, and Cassidy Hinkle

director: John Stimpson

87 minutes (18) 2006
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Metrodome DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Ian R. Faulkner
Based (supposedly) on a true story, The Legend Of Lucy Keyes tells the tale of the very urban Cooley family, who, having moved from the city to set up home in rural New England, namely Princeton Massachusetts, so dad, Guy Cooley (played Justin Theroux), can supervise the construction of a wind farm on a local plot of land, find themselves smack bang in the middle of both a local dispute over the proposed land usage and, as this is a ghost story, a haunting.

The locals are split in their support for the windmill project. Those in favour being led by Guy's boss, Samantha Porter (Brooke Adams), whilst the opposition is headed by the local nut-job, Gretchen Caswell (Jamie Donnelly), who warns Guy and family, in no uncertain terms, that Martha's land should be left alone.

On top of this job related aggravation, Guy is also having problems with his pig farmer neighbour, another local nut and relative of Samantha's, Jonas Dodd (Mark Boone Jr), and with his own wife, Jeanne (Julie Delpy), who is convinced something is very wrong with their new home.

Jeanne is suffering from bad dreams, haunted as she is by the death of their youngest daughter, Anna, seen only in flashback, and by a ghostly voice she hears calling her daughter, Lucy (played by Cassidy Hinkle), from the woods. Guy says it's just the wind blowing through the trees, but Jeanne knows it's something far more sinister.

Convinced things are amiss, Jeanne begins to research the area's local history and soon discovers the previous owners of their farmhouse, the Keyes family, had lost a daughter, coincidentally also named Lucy (Anna Friedman), a quarter of a century ago. It seemed young Lucy Keyes had gone out one afternoon blueberry picking with her sister and had never returned. This loss, according to local legend, set the girl's mother, Martha (Rachel Harker), on a terrible path, which, ultimately it is said, resulted in her ghost haunting the land upon which the windmills are to be constructed: her soul unable to rest whilst her Lucy is lost.

Things soon escalate, rapidly spinning out of control, as Lucy meets her ghostly namesake in the barn and is led astray; nutty Jonas Dodd becomes ever more deranged by the presence of what he calls the spooks; good old Samantha, Guy's boss, shows her true colours; and the angry spirit of Martha Keyes makes a beeline for Jeanne and Lucy, violently attacking them, whilst dad and sister Molly (Kathleen Regan) stand by and look shocked. Finally, as history begins to repeat itself, Lucy vanishes and, just as 250 years ago, her parents are forced to search the woods for answers.

Writer and director John Stimpson has tried hard to make an intelligent ghost story, but, unfortunately, all he has succeeded in doing is making The Legend Of Lucy Keyes dull. It plays like a made-for-TV movie and is so not scary. Someone should let the man know a snail's pace, a true story and lots of repetitive scenes do not automatically evoke atmosphere, suspense or empathy, and certainly do not make a good ghost story. The film, whilst not badly made or acted, basically leaves you flat and unmoved, as you just don't care about the characters or their lives.

It does have some nice cinematography and it does have Parisian beauty Julie Delpy and the room full of pigs' heads is almost, almost shocking, but that's about it, there's nothing else. Even the special features are lacklustre and not worth mentioning.

Overall, The Legend Of Lucy Keyes is not chilling, thrilling or ghostly enough to be worth shelling out your hard earned cash for. I wouldn't say avoid at all costs, just, if you must see it, wait for it to turn up on TV.
NEXT

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