Legend of Lucy Keyes

Not Sure This Particular Story Is All That Legendary.

Main Cast: Julie Delpy and Justin Theroux

Director: John Stimpson

When the bulk of your horror movie hinges on a development deal gone bad due to a land dispute from the 1700s, you’ve probably made a serious error somewhere along the way in your plotting process.

Guy Cooley (Justin Theroux, American Psycho) has moved his family, wife Jeanne (Julie Delpy, Killing Zoe) and daughters Molly and Lucy, to the country in order to work on a windmill project that will not only save the town a lot of money in the long run, but will also help lessen the impact on the environment. Half the town is behind the plan while the other half is against it. Those who oppose the proposal do so thanks to the legend of Lucy Keyes.

Back in the 1700s, after a land dispute with a neighbor, the daughter of a local man went missing. Lucy Keyes just up and vanished one day and no one ever saw her again. Since then, legend has it the ghost of Lucy’s mother can be heard wandering the woods calling out for her missing daughter. And now Cooley and his business partner, local Samantha Porter, want to desecrate the land with ugly windmills.

Meanwhile, Guy’s wife Jeanne is dealing with some issues of her own. She’s still recovering from the death of their youngest daughter, and now she’s hearing the spectral voice in the night calling for, “Luuuucy!” Jeanne and Guy’s younger daughter is named Lucy, and Jeanne fears something bad may be coming for her.

While I’ve never seen any of writer/director John Stimpson’s (Sexting in Suburbia) previous or subsequent movies, I’m in no hurry to do so. I watched The Legend of Lucy Keyes because I love ghost stories and this one sounded mighty creepy. Little did I know the hour and thirty-five minutes I spent on it turned into an hour and 20 minutes of watching badly-done flashbacks when I’m not thrilling to the exciting world of small town land development deals and the opposition they face.

And Justin Theroux is about as bland a leading man as you’re likely to find. Julie Delpy spends most of her time looking worried and harried, sensing immediately that something is wrong with the land they’ve moved onto. And the story doesn’t do anything to attempt to alleviate any of her fears, jumping headfirst into the “spooky” encounters with mother Keyes’ ghost. The problem is it’s the not the least bit frightening. Hell, it’s not even unsettling.

I’m not saying every ghost story needs to be a frightfest from start to finish, but come on, you have to give me SOMETHING here. By the halfway mark, I’d have settled for a good old fashioned jump scare to liven things up.

Instead all I get is the wailing Mrs. Keyes calling “LUUUCY” over and over in the night while Jeanne has recurring nightmares about the death of her youngest daughter when the girl walked out into the middle of the street and was hit by a car while Jeanne was busy talking on the phone. Subtle.

I didn’t get the sense, at all, that Guy and Jeanne had ever been a happily married couple, and in fact couldn’t imagine them, really, even getting along.

The supporting cast is a who’s who of familiar faces if not names, with Brooke Adams (The Dead Zone) as Samantha Porter, the woman in charge of the windmill project, Mark Boone Junior (“Sons of Anarchy”) as the Cooley’s disagreeable neighbor Jonas Dodd, and Jamie Donnelly as town busybody and the main voice of dissent against the project, Gretchen Caswell. It took a quick search on IMDb to place Donnelly (she played Jan, one of the Pink Ladies in Grease), but I sort of kept expecting her to break out into song once I realized who she was.

I don’t know what the point of The Legend of Lucy Keyes was, because it certainly couldn’t have been with the intention of making a frightening horror movie, or even a tense thriller. There was little to no tension, and not a speck of horror anywhere to be found. For the most part it just felt like a long, boring look at the ins and outs of bringing a greener energy source to a small New England town, which just happens to also have stories about a wandering ghost in the woods because a little girl went missing two and a half centuries earlier.

No thanks. Pass.

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