Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer) is a has-been horror writer doing the rounds of small town America in every bookshop that will take him. Upon visiting a strange little town with an odd 7-faced clock tower, he happens upon a local tragedy; the murder of 12 orphaned children at a hotel, previously famed for having Edgar Allen Poe (Ben Chaplin) stay for a night.
Hall becomes intrigued further when he learns of the recent murder of a young girl and then has a strange dream in which he passes into the land of the dead, where he encounters a female ghost who calls herself V (Elle Fanning). He decides to stay in the town longer to write a book based on its tragic history, telling the local sheriff, and budding mystery author, Bobby LaGrange (Bruce Dern, who I know best as Rumsfield from "The 'Burbs"), that he can share in the novel's credit if he helps him solve the mystery.
An unusually styled film with some creative cinematography. The dream sequences, although strange, are nicely designed and I enjoyed the use of colour. I found the scripting very strange and often hollow, though, but Kilmer seems to really enjoy the role and is good fun to watch.
I really enjoyed the premise of the film and, although it's oddly put together with split scene sequences and a very random low budget 'Lost Boys'-esque 'vampire gang' in the mix, it's watchable. It seems more like Mr Coppola was entertaining himself in the making of this film, and it doesn't fit too well together. More like a made-for-TV film with a hint of Arthouse about it, I wouldn't call it a work of art, but it's certainly not the worst I've seen and it's very visually pretty.