Halsey’s Fairy-Tale “Castle” is Visually Clumsy and Unfortified

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Nearly a year after Halsey’s indie track “Castle” was released in her splashy studio album entrance to national airwaves, the artist returns this week with a belated video tribute to a sequence in the upcoming The Huntsman: Winter’s War prequel. In a take-no-prisoners bid for domination, Halsey lends her characteristic spacey vocals to the video in this visual retelling of her song, which  includes some attention-grabbing spectacles, but delivers few new fireworks for fans of either enterprise.


 


The opening of the video provides one of its few striking visuals, as Halsey is seen silhouetted by a spotlight, slowly illuminated in an extravagant dress and crown as she croons to an apparent enchanted mirror. Yet all too quickly the scene backslides into choppily spliced scenes from the Huntsman film, visually paralyzing, devoid of transition, and often only superficially connected to the lyrics sung in overlay. The fractured, puzzle-piece nature of the video seems desperate to make a heavily symbolic, coherent statement, and instead it feels like a Frankenstein’s monster of indie pop and big-budget blockbuster elements that clash, despite their objectively similar topic matter.

There are other moments that appear to reveal the artist and production team reaching higher, though unsuccessfully, to reinvent the single and film in a new, melded medium. The styling of Halsey, gilded and yet animalistic, is awkwardly paired with shots of translucent light and skin flashing across the screen in close-ups that imitate the film’s visual focus on the ornate and grim. By the video’s close, as Halsey returns to singular silhouette, fondling the crown atop her head, the viewer is left impelled to feel the dangerous seduction of the tune reimagined within the confines of a new dramatic narrative. The few-and-far-between notable moments of the collaboration, however, fall far short in forging any new connection.

Featured Image By Astralwerks Records