Robert Pattinson and The Haunted Airman

Welcome back – 

If you read the first blog, you know that I’ve comforted myself through a sudden hearing loss by watching all 26 of the available to stream Robert Pattinson movies. Last post was a commentary on Twilight because it’s arguably his most recognized performance. However, as an artist, he’s grown considerably since that round of movies. I’m going loosely in the order in which they were made, though you’ll find I do jump around a bit. Like not covering Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before doing Twilight. 

Today I wanted to jump into the Haunted Airman. I was gifted the DVD version, so it doesn’t exactly fall into the category of ‘available to stream’. My best friend, who is amazing, bought it for me because she knows I adore him and, for any of you who knew me before these posts, I’m a horror author. Well, I have one book I’d call horror, but Amazon seems to have declared all but two of my publications as occult horror, so I guess I’ll go with that.  

With that in mind, I figured I would treat myself with this one following my doctor’s appointment the other day. It made sense, because it embodied everything I like about movies. At least according to the DVD cover haha It was a stressful, painful appointment and I wanted a treat. I was not disappointed. 

Following my viewing of this movie, I Googled because I wanted to read the reviews. It was as I suspected. Most people hated this movie. It was called slow and convoluted in comparison to the book on which it was based. I have not yet read the book, but I disagree with the reviews of the movie itself. It felt quite Hitchcockian to me. The eerie way in which it was filmed and then knit together is actually pretty slow when put next to many of the modern horror movies. I would, in fact, go so far as to say this is less horror and maybe suspense? 

The quick and dirty plot: Guy is a bomber in World War II. He gets hurt and stuck in a wheelchair. To recover, his aunt-by-marriage-only (that’s important) takes him to a creepy rehab hospital with an even creepier doctor who is not so conventional in his approach. Weird stuff happens. Aunt arrives. You can probably guess, RP is (or was) reaping the benefits of his uncle’s death. More weird stuff happens. Shock ending. 

So here’s the reason I love this. It focuses more on the emotional ramifications of his injuries than just being a creepy horror movie. The only reason this film works is because of the PTSD that this bomber experiences post-injury. As someone with a degree in psychology and my own boatload of experience with the depression that follows a medical crisis, it was a solid piece in that regard. It literally fucks up his relationship with his not-really-his-aunt, it creates a paranoia (while real or imagined is mostly left to the audience’s perception), and it makes it difficult for him to bond with anyone new. RP’s performance is brilliant, from his chain smoking addictive needs, to his depression, to his outright insanity at times. He’s remarkably young for the role, but most of those guys were pretty young. The strange relationship with his aunt has this forbidden feeling to it, even though logically it’s not, and he plays that well.

The plot is slower than movies these days are ‘supposed’ to be and filmed in such a way that, at times, it feels disjointed. I, personally, like that. Scare the crap out of me without jump scares or bloody acts of violence. Psychologically torture me. Keep me guessing. Make me wonder if the main character is actually crazy or legitimately facing something. I very rarely watch movies where the ending is not something I was able to predict. I’m a writer, after all, and it’s what I do. This movie surprised me. I was pleased to have seen it. Is it going to appeal to horror movie buffs? Most probably not haha But for anyone who is into slow born psychological type stuff, it’s a great addition.