Keith’s Movie Korner: ‘Tarot’ fated to fail

By Keith Walther | Rose Law Group Reporter

With a horribly weak cast and poor, inexperienced directors, this film’s failure was written in the cards. “Tarot” is a new horror film based on a novel called “Horrorscope” by Nicholas Adams from 1992. The directors bafflingly chose not to read the source material, which would be their first mistake of many throughout this production.

As is typical of most horror genre fodder, a group of college friends go on a getaway to a secluded house in the middle of nowhere. Haley (Harriet Slater), Paige (Avantika), Paxton (Jacob Batalon), Madeline (Humberly Gonzalez), Elise (Larsen Thompson), Grant (Adain Bradley), and Lucas (Wolfgang Novogratz) stumble across an old, creepy deck of tarot cards while searching the house for booze. Haley happens to be well-versed in astrology and reading tarot, so she unwisely chooses to give everyone a reading.

A vengeful spirit is unwittingly unleashed upon the group, taking the form of each person’s tarot reading and making their prophecies come true in the most lethal of ways. As they start getting picked off one by one, the remaining survivors must figure out how to break this curse before fate catches up to them.

Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg are making their directorial debut with “Tarot,” and it couldn’t have gone much worse. These two last worked together as a writer/producer for one of last year’s worst films “The Expendables 4.” Having zero experience working on a quality production shows up in a big way here, creating an unimaginative and utterly predictable horror movie that fails to scare much less entertain. The incapable directors choose to lay out exactly how each character is to confront their death, then isolating each in turn in an obvious kill scenario that eliminates all mystery and suspense. They also make lame attempts at humor that fall flatter than a year-old open bottle of soda. The ensuing boredom results in some leaving the theater to better spend their time doing literally anything else, sleeping aids for those who nod off before the mass exodus, or anger and resolve to see it all the way through in hopes of gaining some kind of return on the money and time invested.

Everything seen in this film has been done countless times before in significantly better ways. There’s even a copied scene from “Back to the Future” that is utterly pointless. There may be countless problems with this film, but there is a silver lining. The effects associated with the monstrous apparitions that materialize into physical creatures were done surprisingly well, much more realistic than most other B horror movies.

While the visual effects may be a redeeming quality of the filmmaking, there were no such redeeming qualities amongst the cast. Absolutely no chemistry existed amongst them, and every single line seemed contrived and forced. It smacks of a bunch of rejects from the CW (some of the actors ironically appeared in shows on that network) thrown together and asked to make magic of a poorly written script without any visible acting talent. They could not even manage any believable emotion outside of stupefied shock, making their characters useless and unappealing to the point the audience roots for their demise.

Ultimately, “Tarot” is a stale and predictable waste of time that never stood a chance from the preposterous premise upon which it was built. Add in bad filmmakers with an even worst cast and an irredeemable recipe for disaster is created that leaves viewers with a rotten taste in their mouth equivalent to warm, curdled milk. And no, this is not a horror film that is so bad it’s funny, it’s just plain bad.

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May 2024