Giving the series another go.

The Dice Road docu-horror ended up being pretty entertaining. I decided to give the series another crack. This time around we are checking out an old haunted library.

The quality of this film matches the one I reviewed on Monday. I find myself enjoying these docu-horrors a lot more than the cheap found footage crap that infests Netflix and Prime lately. We are in Hoyt Library—a very old and apparently very haunted building. This film has good pacing and a fun mystery surrounding the haunting once more.

Side note: the building I used to work in was called Hoyt Hall, so of course I had to check this one out.

It is interesting to watch these films in reverse chronology. The team’s craft seems to be improving between films. There isn’t anything that makes this film worse than the other (I actually prefer the setting), but everything is less polished. The only major detraction of quality in this one is that the soundtrack is quite heavy handed at points. We also have more “cool” editing for the dramatic reenactments. I found these elements to be done much better in the other film.

The library staff is great. It truly feels like we are interacting with real people. I also appreciate that it seems the writer of this actually spent some time in a library. The librarians seem familiar to me (English teachers have a LOT of contact with their librarians) and they truly nailed the personality. The people are excited, helpful, and friendly, but beyond that there is a bookishness to them that is hard to fully describe.
We do get to know the investigative team a bit more this time around, and I liked these moments in the narrative. If the ghost hunting shows were this entertaining I might actually watch them. Another plus is that this film actually has an IMDB page, so you can check out the cast and crew here.

Note sure if this is a pro or a con, but this one more or less drops the interview portion about 10% into the narrative. This does give the viewer a more sustained view of the investigation, and that does make the team a but easier to know, but it also impacts the pacing as the stakes aren’t continuously raised by external information. I think both formats work, and I am glad this isn’t a carbon copy of the other film.

The stakes are a bit lower this time around. The Dice House had a major mystery surrounding it, where this is a bit more of a normal haunted building. While I liked the setting a lot more, this one wasn’t as interesting in the moment to moment viewing.

While I do enjoy these films, I can also recognize the inherent limitations of this genre. I have seen some folks say that the fake documentary style is boring or lazy, or simply not for them. This is more of a sleepy day horror film than something that you watch for an adrenaline rush. With the lack of the high stakes in this one, it does get a little slow. It isn’t a bad film, but the mysteries surrounding the library are just less interesting to watch. There are spikes of interest, but this one fails to reach the higher bar of Dice Road. 4.5/10

Edit: Hey folks, the librarian commented! Ends up this is a real place, which makes the film a lot cooler!

2 thoughts on “A Haunting at the Hoyt Library (2015) Film Review

  1. Hi. I came across your review while searching for a link for someone else and wanted to give you more detail about the film. I am the Head Librarian at Hoyt Library. That’s really me and my staff in the film. This film, like the other Haunted Saginaw films in the series, is a documentary. We ARE actually real librarians sharing our real experiences about the film. No writer. No actors. Just us and our stories along with the results of the investigation. (The latest film, A Haunting on Brockway Street does use some actors to help tell the story, but the house, the homeowners, and the investigation are real.) I’m glad that it came across to you that we were helpful, friendly and bookish. I like to think that’s exactly what we are.

    Same goes for the homeowners and business owners in the other films in the series. These are real Saginaw people sharing their real haunted encounters. Steve and his team spend a tremendous amount of time on location shooting real footage for their films. They do a lot of their research using our local history resources at Hoyt Library. One of our librarians, Leo, can be seen in other films and has contributed historical materials for a new series Steve is making for the Travel Channel.

    Thanks for your review and your kind words about the library staff.


    1. Thank you for responding. It is awesome that it wasn’t staged. So many of these films are meant to look real, but knowing this is a real locale makes the movie all the more interesting. I’ll have to check out Steve’s new show!


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