This turgid horror feature starts with a young couple in the present: American-accented Alyson (Jennifer Mischiati) and faintly German-sounding Richard (Christoph Hülsen), who move into Alyson’s old home with their infant son after her father commits suicide. That sounds like a bad idea from the start, but then it gets markedly worse. Alyson is plagued by memories of her unhappy childhood in the house, abused by a seamstress mother with mental health issues, while a ghostly apparition that looks like a ravaged mannequin in a greasy wig crops up on the regular to make everyone scream. Eventually the baby gets abducted soon after a visit from a priest (Sean James Sutton) who proves useless at ridding the house of its demonic presence.
Soon after, a bespectacled psychic (Michael Segal) comes to help and reveals that the house is haunted by a bride who lost her child and then called up a demon called Asmodeus, who is apparently a “very evil force, the lord of wrath and vengeance”. Said demonic force has granted the bride’s spirit to return from the dead, so the house is much more crowded than it seems at first, like an illegal Airbnb with guests that can’t be evicted.
The most unsettling element here is not so much the umbral lighting or the stupid, entirely predictable jump scares, but the post-production-recorded, dubbed-in dialogue that’s just a hair out of sync with the visuals. Fans of vintage Italian giallo movies might find this charmingly retro but for many it just makes the film feel amateurish and lame. The ghosts and ghouls are in fact a lot less scary than the weird orange circular saw motifs that bizarrely adorn the bathroom where a number of spooky sequences take place.
• Dead Bride is released on 20 March on digital platforms.