Horror Movie Review: The Jonestown Haunting (2020)

This is a terrible movie.

It’s rare that we would start off a review in that fashion but so infuriating is The Jonestown Haunting that we had to get it out there right away. Utilising the real-life horror that was The Jonestown Massacre, the early promise of what we could get here disappears in wave of awfulness. That builds nothing but hatred across its excruciatingly long 85-minute runtime.

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Without going into too much detail (you can find out all you need to know with a simple web-search), The Jonestown Massacre occurred in 1978. A mass suicide that took the lives of 918 people, including 304 children, in Guyana.

There, a charismatic preacher named Jim Jones alongside a small circle of trusted devotees had his followers drink cyanide laced Flavor Aid. A drink very similar to the more popular Kool-Aid, in case you ever wondering where the term “drinking the Kool-Aid” comes from.

It’s a horrifying real-life event that is ripe for horror movie pickings but should also be dealt with carefully and respectfully. Such difficulties have meant that fictional-based stories surrounding it are few and far between.

Along comes The Jonestown Haunting to make a complete mess by trying to add supernatural elements. Confusing and frankly boring elements that are so borderline horror that classifying this as such a movie feels wrong. However, one read of the title or one look at the cover art might have you expecting more. We certainly did and like many others, got well and truly duped.

Written and directed by Andrew Jones, it stars Tiffany Ceri as a Jonestown survivor named Sarah Logan. She survived by escaping during the infamous shooting of the US officials who had arrived to investigate claims of abuse at the compound. Of course, her part of the story never actually happened but the film does a decent enough job of tying her in with the flashbacks.

Sarah is struggling to move on from the events and suffers from survivors’ guilt. Doctor Adelman (Doug Cooper) can’t seem to make a breakthrough with her. At least until she tells him that she is going back to the site of the massacre to try and find closure.

Of course, once she finds her way back there, it becomes clear that the place is evil and evil never dies.

We’re making it sound better than it is. It can’t be stressed enough; The Jonestown Haunting is mind-numbingly boring and fails to convey convincingly either the survivor’s guilt of the lead and the true horror that took place in 1978. Tiffany Ceri tries but she’s working with a turd here, whereas the less said about the rest of the cast, the better. William Meredith as Jim Jones stands out for all the wrong reasons.

If you’re waiting for actual paranormal horror to show up, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Instead we crawl painfully forward with very little happening and absolutely nothing ‘scary’ occurring. Leading to a finale that is down-right insulting in just how stupid it is. If you made it that far, you’re going to sorely regret it.

The Jonestown Haunting
  • The Final Score - 1/10
User Review
7.13/10 (12 votes)