The Skeptic Tennyson Bardwell

The Skeptic Tennyson Bardwell
Underneath the strangely expository and literal characterizations, awkward staging and Road to Avonlea-style humour there is a clever examination of the psychology behind Scientific and Naïve (or common sense) Realism in The Skeptic. Sure, it relates everything back to childhood anxieties and early exposure to unseemly world elements, glibly dismissing pragmatism and keen observation as arrogance, but there is something interesting beneath the sophomore surface construct. It does this via a haunted house parable, wherein a "sceptic" named Bryan (Tim Daly) crashes in an old estate he has inherited from his recently deceased aunt. Since Bryan has a tendency to remove himself emotionally from any given scenario, interpreting everything in a logical worldly manner, he seeks rational explanations for the whispers and bumps heard throughout the house. Unfortunately, rather than letting Daly's acting speak for itself, we're forced to listen to dialogue such as "I interpret everything logically; if I hear strange noises, they must be real." He mocks his best friend, the idealistic Sully (Tom Arnold), for believing in the Loch Ness Monster, to hammer home that pragmatist versus idealist plotline, while pointing out that since his wife is aging, his absence will lead her to learn to ignore and accept his faults for what they are for fear of being alone. It's uncomfortable to hear the characters point out every narrative term in such an overt manner, as real human beings don't do that. This goes for comely psychic Cassie (Zoe Saldana) as well, who barges in later in the film to experience the haunting for herself, pointing out that her eccentricities come from childhood abuses, mixed with the excitement of ESP, in case we couldn't interpret her character without having it explained in point form. On the upside, there is absolutely no build up to jump scenes and random ghostly phenomenon, leaving shocks and scares intact, which is better than that of most haunted house movies. No supplements are included with the DVD save a trailer. (E1)