“Haunted By Henry” sets a new record for ridiculousness by shamelessly attempting to bring its cliched story of a haunted house into the present-day roundtable discussion.
This recap of Haunted season 3, episode 2, “Haunted By Henry”, contains spoilers.
“Haunted By Henry” sounds like a weird fashion line, or at least it would if you stuck a comma after the word “haunted”, but it’s actually about a mother and her children being besieged by “unsettling events” after moving into the former home of a 19th-century mining magnate. And thus, we begin in Crofton, British Columbia, in 1887, where an accident with a lantern and a trolley full of dynamite leads to quite a kerfuffle, and the besuited magnate, Mr. Croft, not being particularly sympathetic. I mean, he’s a magnate. What was anyone expecting?
Fittingly, then, Wyatt reckons he was haunted by the spirit of a man from the 1800s. This is immediately a return to the usual garbage that this show peddles, which is a shame after a slightly better-than-average premiere. Wyatt’s from the mining town of Crofton, which was named after Mr. Croft, whose house he, his sister, and his mother moved into. He describes it as looking like a haunted house, and he’s right about that. You could imagine if ghosts were real, that they might choose to live there. It certainly doesn’t help that it’s full of giant dolls in grim tableaus (that would have been my “start the car, honey” moment.) The woodshed is full of dusty folders and bloodstains on the wall. There’s a slight note of authenticity here when Wyatt’s sister describes having been bribed to move into the house with a kitten — “Yep, I remember that,” says their mother, in the manner of someone who has had pets to look after. I liked that bit.
Jessica also discovers stores of formaldehyde and embalming fluid and photographs of people in coffins who presumably died in the mines. In the night, Wyatt’s toys start turning on without any batteries — why do ghosts always do that? — and he takes to sleeping in Jessica’s bed, where they both hide under the covers with a torch, which has never gone well for anyone. OBLIGATORY JUMP SCARE. This is getting silly now. Croft appears as a chain-smoking elderly man who pushes Wyatt down the stairs, which he conveniently didn’t tell his mother about at the time. Stuff gets weirder, including a wince-inducing scene with some fish hooks. The toy firetruck features in almost every instance of haunting, for some reason. Wyatt felt he had no choice but to look into the history of the house and delve into the woodshed’s archives, which is a totally normal thing for a kid of his age to do.
Of course, a picture of Henry Croft is in the old papers, and Wyatt recognizes him immediately. He also finds out that the previous tenant in the house had committed suicide, and the place had been left vacant for four years since, until Wyatt and his family moved in, which begs the question of who put that particular newspaper article in the woodshed? If someone was trying to rent the place out, why would they put newspaper stories of dead tenants in the shed?
The climax of Haunted season 3, episode 2 is the entire house being besieged by what looks very much like an earthquake, to be honest, but was obviously ghosts going nuts. Sadly, Jessica’s friend Diane died that night in a car accident, though nobody can quite bring themselves to suggest how these two events might actually be connected. That’s how hauntings work, though, isn’t it? Everything becomes part of the haunting, even stuff that happens further down the road, which makes it especially hilarious when the lights in the studio cut off at that exact moment. Is this really what we’ve resorted to now? The production crew shuffles around with their apologies, and Wyatt and his family discuss how creepy the moment was. I thought this show couldn’t get any more ridiculous, but “Haunted By Henry” set a new record.