The Music Box (Il Carillon to give it it's native title) is an English language Italian horror that was directed and co-written by John Real (Feel the Dead). The story being told here is one that was very familiar, and due to a lack of thrills was also one that became quite tedious to watch.
Annabelle (Rachel Daigh) and her newly orphaned niece, Sophie (Cearl Pepper) have moved into an old Victorian house. Buried in the garden they discover an old box that contained an antique music box. Sophie becomes obsessed with this music box and takes it with her everywhere she goes. Strange things start to occur around Sophie though, objects moving on their own, lights switching on and off, and a ghostly little girl who keeps appearing. Unable to get rid of the box, Annabelle seeks out help to deal with what is becoming apparently clear is a possessed item.
This was quite a dull film and that is down to several factors. Firstly, creepy child films have been done to death so many times before, and this one brings with it nothing original. It all played out so safely that it felt like it was following a formula rather than trying to stand out as a unique horror. Nothing much really happens here from beginning to end. There is a gradual ramping up of the horror, but even by the films finale there isn't really much going on. The ghostly girl appears every now and again but doesn't do much other than standing around before abruptly vanishing. Sophie, who is mute for much of the film had no personality to her character and so I found it hard to care about what happened to her. Annabelle also was a bit of a bland character. The lack of personality from any character here surely helped to keep events boring.
The plot was also not very involving. There is the typical path of contacting someone in tune with the supernatural to help, contacting someone who once owned the music box, and the grand final plan to contain the evil. Along the way there is a subplot of a relationship blossoming between Annabelle and her daughter's therapist but again the lack of strongly defined personalities made this as unexciting as the rest. The special effects for the ghost were ok, but she always felt super imposed on the sets rather than being physically there. I wanted to feel some fear about the music box, but there was never a feeling of peril associated with it, not helped by the lack of anything really happening. At its worst the spirit seems able to make people pass out, hardly making for the most exciting moments.
I was prepared to give The Music Box a chance even when it all seemed so familiar. Concepts can be unoriginal and still be decent entries in the genre. However, with a distinct lack of peril, uninteresting characters, and a bare bones plot this was one horror which didn't manage to achieve much of anything. Sure it isn't a terrible movie, but it is certainly a forgettable one. The Music Box is due for release thanks to High Fliers Films.