The Manor is set in a nursing home, where the patients’ lives are at stake, unfortunately, the stakes in this movie never really reach a successful culmination, ending up in a tedious flop that makes this movie almost forgettable.
The Manor follows Judith, a 70th grandmother who after suffering from a mild stroke moves into a nursing home of her own accord. However soon after staying at her new residence, she notices odd things happening to the patients around her and mysterious deaths. She soon becomes convinced that something supernatural is happening in this nursing home, but no one believes her.
With such a rudimentary backdrop to the supernatural horror, one would hope that The Manor would be able to take it in a new direction. However the resulting 1hr 21 minutes of runtime, just end up being completely lacklustre. With little exploratory backstory done on the main character, Judith, there is not a lot to feel emotionally connected to.
We find out early on that Judith, apart from her failing health, used to be a dancer and something she still misses, but apart from that, we end up knowing little about her character or life. It is unfortunate as it would have been a great opportunity to really develop a full-fleshed out older character, but they missed the ball here. Barbara Hershey is no doubt a good actress, but she is not given enough to work with to really make the plot sing.
I am a big fan of Blumhouse productions, but the company still has its fair share of hits and misses. The Manor is a part of their “Welcome to the Blumhouse” series, which has had some good movies to get stuck into. And unfortunately for us, The Manor is one of the misses.
Judith’s character, rather than being someone who manages to uncover and take charge of the horrors that are befalling the elderly at this care home, spends most of her time in perpetual helplessness. Just trying to trust one person or another, and either being ignored by the staff or brushed off by the residents. This leads to rather lacklustre moments which do little to increase the suspense or tension of the film.
There are just large portions of the films, where it feels rather tedious with niceties between the residents or what I can only call obvious exposition. We can see the ending and where the plot is going from the very beginning. There are no surprises left in store, as it is shown to us plain as day. Without trying to spoil anything, the mysterious younger characters are not a mystery like this movie would like us to think.
This leads us to the main theme of The Manor which is that the elderly are longing for their youth and their glory days. Something that would not be unusual in an elderly care home but perhaps should not have been the central theme of this movie. It becomes almost insulting to the older generation much like The Visit which takes a more potent and gerontophobic look at the elderly.
The Manor is not as grotesque in that regard, but it does send out this overwhelming message that being elderly is a curse and can have no joy. I would have loved it if they had turned that trope on its head, rather than leaning into it so hard that anyone feeling a bit long in the tooth would feel sad about their golden years.
Then there is the monster, which at first was scary but unfortunately, it became a tool for the real monsters, the humans, which again has been overdone. I mean you just have to watch The Walking Dead if you are really into that, it will bang you over the head with that line every single season. But with any horror movie, I want something fresh, new or different, not just the same ideas churned out in a different setting.
Moving onto the finale, it was not only disappointing but seemed to be completely out of character for the Judith character and her grandson. Maybe this was meant to be an aha moment, sometimes coming from the left field hoping to spin your head. But for myself, I was just left confused and annoyed by it.
A great film will put the little seeds peppered throughout the film, so even if it is a surprise, it is not out of the left field. It makes sense with the characters and what they have gone through even if it’s not what you would have expected or wanted, but this “twist” seemed to be a last-minute edition to spice up a run of the mill film.
The Manor is a film that sadly is devoid of the atmosphere needed for a monster movie. It lacks the punch and spice to really give you goosebumps, so all you are left with is a movie that is rather pedestrian and would be more suitable on Hallmark than Prime Video.
The Manor is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.